What’s Going on at Instant Tax Service?

JLC Interview

NCTC Executive Director Jackie Lynn Coleman talks to a reporter about the questionable practices paid preparers sometimes employ

Would it surprise you to hear that there are questionable practices going on at the offices of some paid preparers this tax season? Of course not. But for a couple groups, the media exposure of these practices is really picking up.

On Tuesday, NCTC Executive Director Jackie Lynn Coleman went on CBS-Houston to talk about preparers who are using old customer information to file new returns without their permission.

But the group getting the most attention seems to be Instant Tax Service. The nationwide chain seems to be having different types of “problems” all across the nation.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the coverage and some of the questionable practices Instant Tax Service customers have been talking to the media about:

    • In Rochester, NY customers’ refund checks were delayed and some customers were given bad checks. Customers also complained that the company advertised loans up to $1,000 but was only willing to loan smaller amounts, and took tax preparation fees, totaling about $600, out of loans. Said one customer: “They charge you $600 for a $100 loan.”
    • In Augusta, GA a customer received a $300 loan from Instant Tax Service with no interest – just tax preparation fees ($558). An employee told her as long as she paid the loan back by Jan. 16, there would be no fee. The customer went to pay back the loan on the 16th, but the manager told her that her taxes had already been filed. When a local investigative team interviewed the franchise owner, he admitted it was impossible to submit the return until the 17th.  The Better Business Bureau is now investigating.
    • In Charlotte, NC customers gathered outside an Instant Tax Service office after their refund checks were delayed and some bounced. Customers were told to get their refund on Jan. 27, but when they arrived the office “was closed and no one was in the building.” Customers reported paying as much as $800 out of their refunds for tax preparation.

Similar stories have been reported all over the country. We’ve heard from several affiliates that these stories are unfortunately not rare.

What are you hearing? Have you had customers come into your site and find out their tax return was already filed? Let us know in the comments section.

By Dan Fair, Manager of Communications & Member Relations

About National Community Tax Coalition

National Community Tax Coalition (NCTC) is the nation's largest, most comprehensive membership organization for community-based organizations offering free tax and financial services to low-income working families.

Posted on February 16, 2012, in NCTC and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I never did and never will understand why low income people will ever pay to have their taxes done. I’m not a genius, and I’ve been doing my own taxes online for free. For years I’ve begged my family to allow me to file their taxes. This year they relented and allowed me to do it, saving them hundreds. If you don’t have a ton of liabilities, do it yourself. If you have complicated stuff like.homes or bonds, the IRS does free filing if you meet income requirements.

  2. Maybe they’re paying other people to have their taxes done because they don’t have time to do those papers as they have 2 to 3 jobs to do and when they got home they’re too tired to do their it? There’s a lot of reason why people pay other people to do their taxes.

  3. I went to instant tax service on east state street in Trenton bi it was the worse experience ever.the need to be reported .

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