How private our your tax returns with using a CPA?

I have a small business. I've been doing my own tax returns for personal and my business for years. I would prefer to turn it all over to a CPA, a real professional and have him or her do the returns. The biggest reason I have not done this so far, is that I get the impression that CPAs who do tax returns don't treat my financial data as all that private. This is why I have this impression. When I have interviewed CPAs to do my taxes, I asked various questions. Very often the CPA will answer giving examples saying something like, "I have a client who races horses who lives in (insert some near-by town) and he lost money for 4 years in a row on the horses until in the 5th year he did really well...". There are other stories about someone's success or failure. Another story, "I have a client who plays basket ball professional in the NBA, and his agent takes way more than I think should be allowed by law X percent...". It's those stories I mentioned that concern me. It wouldn't be very hard for me to figure out who this person's clients are even though the CPA didn't mention their names. I have also noticed in one accounting firm I did use many years ago, the senior CPA who owned the firm simply passed my returns and all my data to someone who was paid much less in his firm to work on the return. One day I get a call from this person when I first started out and I asked a question, and she said "If you make money..." I thought, this bothers me. I don't like this kind of commentary or doubt in my business, and why is this young person being given my returns when I am paying for the senior CPA to do them. Now he is sharing them with others in his firm. My concern about privacy is that I don't want someone discussing how I do business, who I sub-contract work to or if I do. I certainly don't want someone giving clues to my income, etc. How can I select and work with a CPA who isn't going to share my information with anyone at all? Is this possible to do? I really don't want to continue to do my own tax returns. I don't enjoy doing them and I believe a professional could do a better job. Please, only useful comments. If you don't see this as a problem, then please don't reply. Snarky replies will be reported.

Asked By: jumpingrightin - 2/14/2012
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Many CPA's are supervisory preparers and they hire a slightly trained staff to do the actual work. CPA's are not trained tax professionals (unless one actually specialized in it). They take some continuing education. Look up a local Enrolled Agent. An EA must pass rigorous IRS exams in taxes and taxes are all they do.
Answered By: Cathi K - 2/14/2012
Additional Answers (1)
The code of professional ethics that CPA's operate under prohibit the disclosure of client names and information. In addition there are internal revenue regulations that prohibit using client information or disseminating client information to anyone. This generally arises when a mortgage company wants a copy of your... More
Answered By: waggy_33 - 2/14/2012
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