Your accountant isn’t responding to calls or Emails. What to do next.

Dealing with tax matters can be stressful, especially when you’re under the pressure of deadlines. It can be even more challenging when your trusted tax professional – whether a CPA or an accountant – isn’t returning your calls or emails. This lack of communication can leave you feeling anxious and uncertain, particularly during the high-stress tax season. 

It’s important to understand that tax professionals themselves are under significant pressure during this time, juggling numerous clients with urgent needs. However, this doesn’t make your concerns any less important. If your accountant is not responding during these critical times, here’s what you can do.

Be clear with your messages

When your accountant isn’t responding to your calls or emails, the first step is to ensure your communication is as clear and concise as possible. Accountants oversee a plethora of documents and queries daily, especially during tax season. Your message might have been lost in a sea of emails or voicemails. 

To grab their attention, direct communication is best. If you’re sending an email, include all the necessary documents, questions, and concerns in a single, well-organized message. This not only makes it easier for your accountant to understand what you need, but also shows that you value their time and are looking for an efficient resolution. If you’re waiting for a specific document or answer to a particular question, make it known. 

When communicating by phone, leave a message that is direct and concise. This can significantly increase the chances of a prompt response. Keep in mind, though, that accountants sometimes prefer to follow up voicemail with an email. However frustrating this may be, your accountant needs to document your conversation in your file. If your question or concern is complex, or requires research, the easiest solution is to email you in return, even if you prefer a phone call.

If your accountant still hasn’t returned your calls or emails, what are the next steps you can take? 

  1. Do some research of your own. Many firms have handouts that answer common questions (valuing charitable contributions, understanding tax credits, home office deductions, etc.) available on their websites.
  2. Read any office updates, newsletters, and mass e-mail messages your accountant sends. These often include answers to frequently asked questions from multiple clients.
  3. Wait five to seven business days before following up on your initial communication.
  4. Schedule a face-to-face meeting or a video conference, to discuss your concerns directly and more efficiently with your accountant.

Still haven’t heard back?

If your accountant isn’t responding at all, despite your efforts to communicate clearly and directly, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship with your accountant. A professional relationship, especially one as critical as that between a client and their tax advisor, is built on trust and reliable communication. If these are consistently lacking, it might be time to consider moving on.

Knowing how to fire your accountant is as important as knowing when. If you decide that it’s time to part ways, approach the situation with professionalism and courtesy. Inform them of your decision through a formal communication, outlining your reasons without resorting to blame. Make sure you have all your documents and information in order before making the switch to your new accountant, to prevent any tax filing delays.

Finding a new tax professional might seem difficult, but it is an important next step. Ideally, you want to look for someone whose communication style and availability meet your needs. Ask for recommendations, check qualifications and reviews, and most importantly, discuss your expectations about communication and response times before engaging their services.

In conclusion, while your tax professional may be under significant pressure during tax season, your needs as a client are nonetheless important. Clear communication, understanding your options, and staying informed are key to ensuring your tax matters are handled efficiently and to your satisfaction.