What’s Going on at Instant Tax Service?
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.
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