Troubleshooter: Bad taxes

March 9, 2011 3:12:54 PM PST
Some people who went to a Raleigh tax service are wondering if they will ever get their refunds.

Paulette Owens says her refund is $3,727.

“I need that badly,” she said. “I’ve been out of work for 6 months, I depended on that.”

She needs it but doesn’t have it even though her taxes were filed more than a month ago by EZ Tax Services. Owens says she took all her paperwork to the company’s Raleigh office.

“I filled out all my paperwork,” Owens said. “They made copy of my license and social security card.”

Owens says EZ Tax Services filed her taxes without her signing anything.

“All I want to know is what you filed, what you claimed on my return, I don’t even know if they claimed my dependents,” she said.

By calling the IRS, she says she learned her refund would be close to $4,000 and the refund would be sent to EZ Tax Services.

“It’s my money. I worked for it,” Owens said. “The IRS saying there is nothing they can do. It’s between me and them [EZ tax Services] and that’s crazy.”

Janet Clemons also says she’s in the same boat after she went to EZ Tax Services.

“They said, ‘We can do your taxes with your last pay check stub,’” Clemons explained.

Clemons says she never gave the preparer her W-2 and EZ Tax Services filed her taxes with just her last paycheck -- something the IRS does not allow. She also says she didn’t sign her 1040 and doesn’t know anything about her refund.

“They wouldn’t give me the amount of money,” Clemons said. “I still didn’t know the amount of money I had due back.”

With no answers, ABC11 Eyewitness News headed to the EZ Tax Services Raleigh office.

Despite workers being inside, the door was locked and an employee said the business was closed for a few days.

“How are people going to get their returns?” Troubleshooter Diane Wilson asked.

The employee said the office would open in a few days.

“How could this woman get her 1040?” Wilson asked the employee. “She never signed anything. You guys filed her taxes and she didn’t sign a thing.”

The employee said she had the forms and a manager would be there soon to get them for ABC11. While waiting, more unhappy EZ Tax Services customers showed up.

Sean Victor actually got a check for his return from EZ Tax, but it bounced.

“I wound up cashing it and it ended up bouncing, and they took the money out of my account so now I’m short $871 in my account,” Victor said.

Now Victor is looking for his money. No one would open the door at EZ Tax Services for him either.

Since then, Victor resubmitted the check from EZ Tax Services and this time it went though. Now he has his tax refund even though he says it’s much lower than they told him he would be getting.

ABC11 has heard from a dozen more EZ Tax Services customers including several elderly and disabled people, who said EZ Tax Services filed their taxes and more than a month later, they are still waiting for their returns. Other complaints involve promises of a higher return, only to be given a return with a lot less money.

The Troubleshooter made several calls to EZ Tax Services’ local and corporate office in Atlanta and all of the company’s voicemail boxes are full.

When it comes to getting your taxes filed, remember no matter who prepares a return, the taxpayer is legally responsible for all of the information on that tax return. Make sure you use a reputable business that’s has been in business for several year and that has a licensed preparer. You are trusting people with a lot of personal information.

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