Taxpayer asks:

I had my tax returns prepared, and I don’ t think the CPA did a good job. I have not signed the forms nor have i provided the original copies of my various financial statements. Can I ask someone else to do them and discard the “first draft”?

Thank you.

taxgirl says:

Absolutely. If you didn’t sign or authorize the e-file of the returns, you can shred them and start all over.

Remember that it’s your signature on the line at the bottom of that return so you need to be comfortable with what’s on the return. Obviously, this is easier when you know and trust your preparer. For some tips on choosing a tax preparer, see this prior post.

Like any good lawyer, I need to add a disclaimer: unfortunately, it is impossible to offer comprehensive tax info over the internet, no matter how well researched or written. And remember, I love my readers but having me bookmarked on your computer doesn’t make you a client: before relying on any information given on this site, contact a tax professional to discuss your particular situation.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.


  1. I think you missed an important point about this person’s inquiry. Just because he/she “thinks” their CPA did a bad job, doesn’t mean they did. It may just mean the outcome wasn’t to the taxpayer’s liking.

    The CPA deserves to know if the taxpayer is unsatisfied with the work done. Most CPA’s I know would like the opportunity to fix any problems with a tax return. If it turns out to be the CPA’s fault, most don’t charge to file an amended return, or in this case, fix the return before it is filed. Most importantly, if the CPA’s work turns out to be correct, the taxpayer should have the fortitude to pay both tax preparers. It is unbelievable how many times people don’t want to pay for work done, when they “think” it was done incorrectly.

    • Point taken, Clark.

      I, of course, agree that a taxpayer may disagree with a properly prepared return. That doesn’t, however, require that taxpayer to file that version of the return.
      But you’re absolutely right that the taxpayer should try to resolve this issue at the CPA level, if possible.

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