CPA Gone Missing - What To Do

10 Replies

Good Morning BP Nation, I have an interesting situation and I’m hoping it’s simply an odd coincidence and turns out to be no issue at all, but I am starting to get concerned. Over the years, I’ve posted several tax questions on BP and there was an REI-focused CPA that was always very responsive and helpful in answering them. I ended up becoming a client and have enjoyed working with this individual since. I had my taxes completed by this person for 2017 and things seemed to be going fine. A couple of weeks ago, I sent an email with some tax planning questions. I understand it’s a heavy vacation time of year, so after not hearing back right away, I didn’t think anything of it. After about two weeks of not hearing back, I left a voicemail to follow up and mentioned I’d be re-sending my email if it was easier to respond that way. Then that email bounced back. I then went to the website, or tried to, and it was down. The landing page said it was up for renewal the day after my original email was sent. I looked this person up again as far as CPA status and they are still listed as active. I sent a direct message here on BP, where we initially started communicating, and am hoping I might hear back that way. My next step is to mail a letter. I’m not really sure what else to do. I initially thought the worst (identity theft), but highly doubt that to be the case. I’m trying to give the benefit of the doubt and think maybe they’re on vacation and simply forgot to renew the website and I’ll hear back soon. Just not sure what’s a reasonable amount of time to wait. What do you all think? We work remotely (different states), so it’s not like I can just swing by the office and it appears to be a one person shop. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Definitely an odd situation. You’re probably going to have to move on. I wouldn’t wait more than a month. Websites can be auto-renewed so that they don’t expire.

If it was me - I'd contact some neighbors of his business. Go to google maps and look at satellite picture and 'walk' down the street and see what businesses are next to his and contact them and ask, if the business is still in existence . 

Put his name, city and 'obituaries' into google and see, if he's passed. 

Read some of his previous BP posts and see, if in those threads, there are other people posting that seem to have a relationship with him and contact them. 

Send a return receipt letter to him, so that you can see, if he signed for it. 

Google his name and see if there're some accidents mentioned. 

@Mark S.

Something personal could have happened - like a family crisis, a health issue or even death.

I like @Michaela G. 's suggestion to contact the neighboring businesses - however, if he is a one-man shop, he might not have a physical office and work from home.

Since 2017 returns have been filed, you probably can afford to wait a little longer. Meanwhile, tax planning questions, if urgent, can be discussed with another tax professional.

I would find a new tax professional. Unless you hear from him soon with a good explanation it does not sound like someone whom is reliable.

Let's hope it wasn't that guy that was scamming people on 1031 exchanges. Robert Hetsler. He also wrote on BP and there's a long thread on him. He's in a coma

I will be mailing a letter today that will need to be signed for.  No, it is not Robert Hetsler.  

Letter attempted to be delivered. No one available to sign. Notice left. Still nothing. Will be returned to me at beginning of August if not signed for. Looks like it’s time to find a new CPA specializing in working with real estate investors remotely. REI-focused CPAs working with out-of-state clients: Feel free to private message me if you’re interested in potentially working with a new client in Kentucky. Thanks.