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I hired a CPA to do my taxes on Upwork and I agreed to pay $750 if my 1040 and quarterly taxes are prepared for me. After a few days back and fourth sending him all documents in the chat section, he called me on Upwork to discuss my taxes and as it turned out, he didn't even look at the info I sent him, nor prepared anything; he was struggling to find stuff on them.


I talked to Upwork and I was advised to end the contract and I will get my money back (Saved the chat session and sent to my email); After a few moments, I get an email that the Freelancer disputed the contract. I'm now left with a decision to either, accept the dispute, or reject it and send it to arbitration.


The average cost of hiring a certified public accountant (CPA) to prepare and submit a Form 1040 and state return with no itemized deductions is $176, while the average fee for an itemized Form 1040 and a state tax return is $273. I have uploaded $750 in escrow after he quoted me with no questions asked;


Now that I sent him all my private info and we are in a dispute, I'm worried about my private data (I know that Upwork have something in place for that) I was just wondering what everyone's thought was on this issue and what's the best course of action.


Oh, by the way (My Small business have about 50 transaction mostly) with some minor deposits on my bank and all my sheets are organized) - He simply combined my 5 or 6 excel sheets into one) and told me that he never agreed to do my taxes for me.

Community Member

It sounds like you should try to reach a compromise rather than asking for a full refund, so talk to the freelancer, with the help of a mediator if need be. But if the freelancer didn't finish the work properly, then I don't think he'll put up much of a fight - I don't see how he could win in arbitration either - but then, I don't know his side of the story.

Just curious - why did you agree to pay $750 without even fully discussing the details first, especially if you knew that you were being charged a lot more than the average rate?

As for whether your private information is secure... Is he definitely a CPA? (You have proof of this?) Does he otherwise have a good reputation on Upwork?

Hi Christine, Thank you for reaching out and for jumping in the discussion; I honestly didn’t think he did anything whatsoever. During my brief discussion with him, he sounded like he was on a million other things and didn’t even know where, what and who I was; and was just then during the call going back and forth to read our discussions on Upwork and read the documents I sent to him (This call was through Upwork so I’m not sure if it was at all recorded but clearly he was not aware of anything).


If any sound person read our conversation on Upwork and see all the documents I sent him and what we talked about, he won’t be getting anything!


His side of the story would be that he never agreed to do my taxes but rather help consult on the issue (Why in my sound mind would I pay $750 knowing that a CPA would only charge half of that, maybe even less. “I’m sure there are tax professional who charge more” but my business doesn’t even have 50 transactions.


Also, I agreed to pay $750 because he had good reviews (New to Upwork), listed on the IRS website and seemed like a seasoned accountant for other firms. I assumed he would get them done for me faster without any issues; to find out that he was asking me to pay more to do my quarterly which I already told him he would do.


By the end of the day he didn’t do any at all but rather took 5 excel sheets I sent him and combined them into one;

Community Member

John E wrote:

After a few moments, I get an email that the Freelancer disputed the contract. I'm now left with a decision to either, accept the dispute, or reject it and send it to arbitration.

That is NOT what you have to choose between. Arbitration is the very last resort, it is not the first step.

Mediation is the first step, where Upwork will try to find a compromise.


Other than the time it takes there is no downside to rejecting the dispute and moving forward to mediation.



Community Member

Hi Petra, Thanks for the comment; I have no intentions to pay the freelancer for work he didn’t do; I have been a Freelancer myself on Upwork since Elance's inception and I can spot a cheat who charges three times more and do absolutely nothing, which he did here, absolutely nothing!

Community Member

You missed my point 😉


Between rejecting the dispute and arbitration lies dispute mediation. So you have the choice between accepting the dispute and going forward with mediation. 

Arbitration only comes into it if no solution is found AND if the freelancer pays for arbitration.

Community Member

Crappy freelancers love clients like you. I can't believe you hired this guy when "during the call" he seemed like he didn't care about your project, etc.


Did you just ignore all the red flags?


If your story is sound and your cause just, you'll win the arbitration. Tell the freelancer that they'll likely (or certainly, if you're extremely confident in your position) lose the arbitration if it happens. 

Why would you assume that? The call was after I hired him; and yes that did raise a red flag for me. It sounded like he was real busy. I'm also not interested in speaking with him; there is a mediation process ongoing right now. I want to see how this goes before I send it to arbitration!

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