Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Kevin Durant is having tax troubles, and he blames his former accountant.
In a federal lawsuit, Durant complains the accountant made a number of mistakes on his company’s tax returns, such as deducting the cost of his personal chef as a business expense.
“Fees paid to a personal chef would not be regarded by a reasonably prudent accountant as qualifying for a business expense deduction,” Durant’s attorneys stated in the lawsuit.
Durant sued California accountant Joel Lynn Elliott in December on counts of professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract. He is asking for at least $200,000 on each count.
The lawsuit is pending in federal court in San Jose, Calif. Elliott’s attorneys have until March 13 to file a response.
They did not return phone calls for comment Tuesday.
Durant has his own company — K. Durant Enterprises LLC.
Durant hired Elliott in 2007 or 2008 at the recommendation of his then-agent, Aaron Goodwin, according to the lawsuit. Elliott prepared Durant’s personal income tax returns and K. Durant Enterprises’ corporate tax returns for tax years 2007 through 2011, according to the lawsuit.
Because of the mistakes, Durant and his company will have to file amended state and federal tax returns and pay back taxes, interest and possible penalties, the lawsuit complains.
Durant also specifically complained in the lawsuit that the accountant failed to make sure that all travel costs deducted as business expenses on corporate tax returns were, in fact, business-related.
The lawsuit states that K. Durant Enterprises paid for all travel arrangements for Durant and company employees “during the relevant time period ... to the tune of more than a million dollars.”
“Although much of this travel was business-related, some of it was personal in nature,” the lawsuit states.
“A reasonably prudent accountant would have ... sought documentation to confirm that each travel expense for which a deduction was recorded was truly business-related.”