Does an accountant legally have to release my files for tax purposes? 3 Answers as of April 15, 2011

A previous accountant has records going back 20 years. In light of the fact he is no longer my accountant and claims I owe him money for work he never performed (for which I needed to hire another to do), can he withhold these records?

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Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm | Steven J. Fromm & Associates, P.C.
If he is a certified public accountant, most state boards and ethical rules prohibit holding back files because of a fee dispute. You do not state where you reside but you should consult with an attorney in your state to get the files returned to you. Under most state laws the files are yours and not the accountant's.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 4/15/2011
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
Yes, if you owe him money, he is able to withhold them.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 4/15/2011
Givner & Kaye
Givner & Kaye | Bruce Givner
The accountant cannot withhold your files. It is an ethical and legal violation. Call up the State Board of Accountancy.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/14/2011
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