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Dear Jido,

I need to fire my accountant, who is also my friend, because he messed up in representing me while filing my taxes. I’m not angry at him, but I cannot risk similar mistakes in the future.

The problem is that we have been good friends for many years – and I want to remain friends. How should I communicate with him that I would like to use a different accountant – without hurting his feelings and damaging our friendship?

Signed,
Severely Taxed

Dear Taxed,

As they say, breaking up is hard to do. They also say to try to never do business with friends (or relatives) – exactly for this reason.

But your accountant is a professional and should be dealt with on a professional level.

If he is aware of the loss you incurred, then you should be honest and forthcoming, and tell him that you cannot afford, nor do you want, to subject yourself to this type of mistake again. If he is not aware of his mistake, then explain to him that perhaps it is time that you move to a more sophisticated level of tax planning with which he may not be familiar.

“Firing” your accountant sounds harsh and unfriendly – it can definitely leave him with a bad feeling, especially after all those years. Taking a broader perspective on how your taxes are calculated for your business and estate is strictly a business decision you need to make.

As tax season approaches and tax laws have changed for 2019, it is not unexpected for businessmen to be looking to minimize their tax burdens within the parameters of the new laws. Dealt with professionally and openly, your friend should appreciate your desire to manage your money wisely, even if he is no longer part of that process.

Good luck,

Jido