12 On Your Side: Instant Tax Service facing fraud charges

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

Friday, April 13, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Department of Justice is now investigating Instant Tax Service on charges of tax fraud.

12 On Your Side first told you about local complaints into the company back in January. Viewers allege they visited the company on Peach Orchard Road to qualify for a quick loan only later to find out Instant Tax Service filed their taxes without their knowledge and charged them extremely high filing fees.

The Better Business Bureau of the CSRA had 17 formal complaints into the location in Augusta. Nationwide, 800 people complained about Instant Tax Service to the BBB.

Justice officials call the fees charged "outrageously high" and estimates fraud in five major cities at $16 million.

News 12's Elizabeth Owens confronted franchise owner of Instant Tax Service on Peach Orchard Road in January. Yonathan MIchael told her that some of the complaints were from a "computer glitch" and they he was "willing to work with the client -- there's got to be some sort of misunderstanding."

There are 1,200 locations nationwide. According to the BBB, the founder of Instant Tax Service as well as franchise owners could face charges.

If you believe you were a victim of tax fraud, contact the Office of Consumer Protection. In Georgia, the number is 1-800-869-1123. Each state is compiling complaints and then sending the information to the Department of Justice.

You may also want to contact the Better Business Bureau in your area, as well as the Internal Revenue Service.


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