Changing accountant


I am in the process of changing accountant, is it a reasonable request for me to ask for my existing tax return file? If so is it as simple as me letting my old accountant know that I am changing to another accountant and would like to pick up my file or can they deny my request and can only give me a copy?

Not sure how this works with accountants so just thought I'd throw this question here hoping an accountant or someone that understands the practices of accountants can let me know in advance.

Thanks in advance.
What exactly is it that you're after? Copies of your tax returns and financials - you should already have these. But if you do request them, then an accountant can certainly provide extra copies. If you want all their working papers and correspondence, then no, they probably won't hand that over. I'm a bit confused as to what you're after exactly. If it's your company file then yes, the accountant would hand that over.
When I changed accountants a few years ago my new accountant contacted the old one and got all the details they required (after the old accountant got permission off me).


That's normal, accountants are normally accommodating of each other and will provide what is needed, as most clients are hopeless and can't keep copies of all their documents. :)

However, in terms of handing over the entire files full of original documents, no that's not normal. At least not in the offices I've ever worked in.
Hello Biggies, its the copies of the tax returns and financials. Including what items were claimed, % etc. I can find copies of my tax returns but the items claimed, % etc I dont have. Is that what you termed as working papers?

Unfortunately I fall in the hopeless at keeping copies of all my documents bucket.. hence I'm trying to get copies of all my documents and make sure I have it kept safely this time. IE. scanned it in and catalogue it in my digital archives.

Just out of curiousity, accountants keeps the entire files full of original documents for what purpose? Surely its more economical to hand it all over to the client that is leaving or is there some legal purpose that requires them to keep it all?
Usual process is that the new accountant sends the old accountant an ethical letter seeking all relevant information for the client to be forwarded, and asking if there is any reason why the client shouldn't be moved (ie outstanding bills).

If you don't want your old accountant to know where you are going to, then there is no reason why you can't request to collect your records.

As people mentioned above, when you change accountants, the new accountant should send the old accountant an ethical clearance letter which includes request of any records held. However:

- Accountants usually do this for businesses or clients with complex tax records
- The old accountant does not always reply nor provide the records. I've come across this practice a few times.

Hope this helps