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What Should I Do?


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Now I have seen everything.  New client dropped off their paperwork (the previous preparer passed away).  So I'm entering the numbers for 2018 into the comparison screen from a double sided copy and when I get to the second page, the numbers are not making sense.  It takes me a minute to realize the flip side is actually someone else's return!  I check the other pages and sure enough, the other person's entire return is on the flip side of my new client's return.  His girlfriend also dropped off her paper work and on the flip side of her return is another person's (different from the first person) investment account statement!

So what should I do?  Just give back the client the return as is, or make a new copy of just his return and shred the copy with the other person's information?  Do I have any obligation (or should I) notify the other person of what happened?

Thanks.

 

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Is it possible that your new client and his girlfriend have their 2019 returns duplicated on the flip sides of random strangers' returns, also? I realize you can't deal with the previous preparer who passed away, but should you warn your clients? Report to your IRS liaison?

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8 minutes ago, Lion EA said:

Is it possible that your new client and his girlfriend have their 2019 returns duplicated on the flip sides of random strangers' returns, also? I realize you can't deal with the previous preparer who passed away, but should you warn your clients? Report to your IRS liaison?

It would not surprise me if their 2018 return was on the flip side of someone else's return. I am going to let them know what happened so they can be alert for any identity theft issues.

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An old friend brought his practice to ours a season before he retired.  The preparer copies of returns were exactly like this, with other returns, P&Ls, etc printed on the backside.  We finally realized that like many old timers, he didn't want to waste paper so printed his copy on the back of other returns that had a change after printing or statements he no longer needed.  Chances are your clients were given his preparer copy with their file after he died.  Do what the others suggest--copy the appropriate side and shred the whole thing.  It is beyond your responsibility or ability to track down all of his former clients.

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On 9/19/2020 at 9:11 PM, Sara EA said:

An old friend brought his practice to ours a season before he retired.  The preparer copies of returns were exactly like this, with other returns, P&Ls, etc printed on the backside.  We finally realized that like many old timers, he didn't want to waste paper so printed his copy on the back of other returns that had a change after printing or statements he no longer needed.  Chances are your clients were given his preparer copy with their file after he died.  Do what the others suggest--copy the appropriate side and shred the whole thing.  It is beyond your responsibility or ability to track down all of his former clients.

I spoke with the clients and it appears Sara is correct.  They couldn't find their originals and the previous preparer's wife did not know how to print out another copy, so she just pulled copies out of the file cabinet to give them.

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