12 On Your Side: Instant Tax Service under more investigation

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Governor's Office of Consumer Protection is now investigating Instant Tax Service.

News 12 first told you about the tax preparer company a week ago.

Dozens of viewers contacted 12 On Your Side about Instant Tax Service possibly using deceptive practices and giving out misleading information pertaining to loans and tax returns.

On Monday, an uniformed guard stood outside of the business. The extra security makes sense once you feel the anger coming from Instant Tax Service's customers.

"I'm like really upset," Latrice Burns said. "I'm feeling very upset.

"Worried," said Christopher Owen. "Who is the manager down here? Everyone who answers the phone here is the manager."

12 On Your Side found the franchise owner and sat down with him a week ago after a viewer contacted us about possibly misleading practices at his office.

Dozens of you have called our newsroom and emailed us about Instant Tax Service since airing Owner Yonathan Michael's interview.

Kristy Dozer echoes the biggest complaint we've heard about the company.

"$538 dollars to do your taxes, that's just ridiculous," she said.

She went to Instant Tax Service for what she thought was a free loan. She says later she found out the company submitted her paperwork to the IRS before the loan payoff deadline and charged hundreds of dollars in filing fees.

Dozer's paperwork shows where Instant Tax Service charged her a $20 check fee, a $39 amount processing fee, a $24.95 technology fee, a $10 refund estimate fee, a $199 in tax preparation fee, a $70 E-File fee, a $79 bank document fee, a $17 transmission fee and a $100 service bureau fee. The total Instant Tax Service charged her for only submitting her federal income tax returns was $558.95.

Others claim that the tax preparers in the office messed up their returns.

"It got rejected from the government. They had to redo my taxes because they put my son's birthday down wrong," Owen said.

A representative with the Internal Revenue Service made a special trip to Augusta after watching our 12 On Your Side investigation to alert all taxpayers.

"Generally not all tax preparers are bad; unfortunately, those that are casts a shadow on the entire tax community," IRS representative Mark Green said.

Green says to choose tax preparers who are credible, knowledgeable and accountable and have a preparer tax identification number, also known as a P10.

The IRS is making surprise visits to tax preparers around the state to make they're in compliance.

The IRS will not confirm or deny that it's investigating Instant Tax Service. However, both the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection and the Better Business Bureau told News 12 they are investigating the company.

If you have complaints about Instant Tax Service then you need to contact the following agencies:
-Better Business Bureau of the CSRA: (706) 210-7676
-IRS Complaint Line: (202) 622-2207
-Governor's Office of Consumer Protection: 1-800-869-1123

Helpful links:
To visit the CSRA's Better Business Bureau website, click here.
To visit the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection, click here.
To visit the IRS website, click here.


Have information or an opinion about this story? Click here to contact the newsroom.


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