My ex employee bookkeeper won’t give me back my paperwork that I need for tax purposes.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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My ex employee bookkeeper won’t give me back my paperwork that I need for tax purposes.

I closed my business and my bookkeeper kept my paperwork. I have gotten back some
of it but am unable to file my taxes. I owe her back wages and she will not
return the paperwork until that is resolved. I am unable to pay her back wages
and am trying to file bankruptcy. What do I need to do to get my paperwork?

Asked on December 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The only way to get the paperwork from her is in a lawsuit: either suing her, such as specifically for the return of the paperwork, or filing some other lawsuit or legal action and issuing a subpoena to her in the context of that legal action. It is possible that you could issue a subpoena in the context of your bankrutpcy filing--contact the clerk of your local bankruptcy court to see whether that is something you can do. But whether it's in your bankruptcy or by suing her for the return, you can only legally get the paper work without her agreement or consent in a lawsuit, by using the legal mechanisms of "discovery." Possibly, as an alternative, you may wish to see if you can agree on some back wages repayment plan with her to get the paper back.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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