Is it lawful for an accountant to charge you for services that extend beyong original tax return without informing you/getting your permission first?

I filed taxes 8 months ago with an accountant. Trouble arose as my daughter had mistakenly claimed independent so she has to refile. My return was mailed at same time and “lost” on IRS side. Accountant helped me clear matter up which took some additional phone calls and documentation. It was finally resolved but then I got a bill from from accountant for an additional $150, there is no itemization to say how they come up with that figure. But more importantly, in the phone calls and written communication between myself and accountant, he never said there would be an additional cost.

Asked on October 21, 2011 under Business Law, Ohio


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Do you have a retainer with the accountant?  What does it say? Does it mention that if thr are matters that go beyond "tax preparation" that there would be a fee based upon an hourly rate?  I would say that it is really NOT unusual for the accountant to then charge you hourly for services that exceed the preparation of the returns, but that you should have been explained this from the get go.  And yes, you are entitled to a breakdown of the fees that says that you owe.  Write him a letter enclosing a copy of the bill and ask him to send you a break down of the fees.  You will know then if he charged you a percentage of an hourly rate, etc.  Good luck.

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