Generally, a practitioner must, upon a client’s request, promptly return all records of the client that are necessary for the client to comply with his Federal tax obligations. He may retain copies of the records returned to a client. The existence of a dispute over fees usually does not relieve the practitioner of his responsibility under this section. Nevertheless, if applicable state law allows or permits the retention of a client’s records by a practitioner in the case of a dispute over fees for services rendered, only those records that must be attached to the taxpayer’s return need to be returned. However, the practitioner must provide the client with reasonable access to review and copy any additional records of the client, which retained by the practitioner under state law, necessary for the client to comply with his Federal tax obligations.
“Records of the client,” for purposes of this section, include all documents or written or electronic materials provided to the practitioner, or the practitioner obtained during his representation of the client, that preexisted the retention of the practitioner by the client. The term also includes any return, claim for refund, schedule, affidavit, appraisal, or any other document prepared by the practitioner, or his employee or agent, that was presented to the client regarding a prior representation if such document is necessary for the taxpayer to comply with his Federal tax obligation. The term does not include any return, claim for refund, schedule, affidavit, appraisal, or any other document prepared by the practitioner or the practitioner’s firm, employees or agent if the practitioner is withholding such document pending the client’s performance of its contractual obligation to pay fees regarding such document.