As a business owner, you hired a professional accountant to assist with your tax returns. You should be able to trust that the accountant will pay attention to details and properly file your returns on time, but what if you cannot?
If your accountant made serious mistakes on your tax return, you could face substantial penalties from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) including late fees, additional interest payments, penalties for negligence or even accusations of intentional fraud. This can severely impact your business, and all because you trusted a trained professional with your business's well-being. Depending on the situation, you may have a case for accounting malpractice.
What constitutes as accounting malpractice?
A tax return error does not provide grounds for accounting malpractice on its own. To file an accounting malpractice suit, you must be able to prove certain elements about your case, including:
- They owed you a duty to provide accounting services
- They deviated from the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and best practices
- Their deviation was either intentional, or due to negligence
- Their mistake caused financial harm to you or your business
If you are not able to prove that they either deviated from accepted best practices, or that their mistake caused financial harm, your suit will not be successful.
What can you do if you suspect malpractice?
Accounting malpractice can be complex and difficult to prove. If you suspect malpractice, you should consult with an experienced lawyer to evaluate your case and provide guidance.
Within Illinois, you must file your malpractice claim within two years of knowing about the issue, or within two years of the time you should have reasonably known about the issue. If you fail to address the issue within this statute of limitations, you may not be able to take legal action for the malpractice.