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How long does a tax preparer have to keep records of clients Form: What You Should Know

For example, for the purposes of determining tax owed, a tax returnĀ retention period of seven years is acceptable. At that point, a tax practitioner will likely require the return to be retained in order to be able to determine how much tax a taxpayer owes. If you retain a copy of the return for much longer, then you'll be able to work with your client to determine how much of the tax owed it is possible to deduct on the tax return. You also want to keep copies of your correspondence with your clients for three years. When you write your client and tell her about your options, she will be able to assess how much the return might be in jeopardy. If you do not retain the return, it will be lost, and you will be unable to determine how much is owed. It is important to retain the records, because the IRS would consider that you are not paying attention to whether you are following the requirements of the return. This would cause you to be flagged because a return is missing from an active file. It also leaves gaps in records,Ā which may be of interest because they show where tax information may have been destroyed. What Should I Do If Someone Tells Me their Client Threw Away the Return? You mustĀ retain the records of your conversations with that person. This would include any written notes by you or your staff on your conversation that were taken. This also includes notes from any communications on the phone or in writing to your client that are not to be used in a tax audit. Taxpayers can legally erase records that wereĀ suppressed in order to protect them from being used in an audit. The only time you can tell somebody to keep those records is when that person has committed a crime against them or their property. In most cases, they will not hold your client tax return records against them. But, you must retain them if they have committed a crime. This includes, for example, fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and filing off a tax return to avoid filing taxes. For More Information Tax professionals are required by law to maintain client records on theĀ IRS website. Ā If it's a tax return, the record must be maintained for three years. The other record types are not specifically mentioned. If you believe there may be a crime involved, contact the IRS. Taxpayers who do not maintain records are, and should remain, unaware of potential opportunities to get away with paying less tax than they should owe.

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