Instant Tax Service Accused of Fraud

April 16, 2012
CBS 2 Chicago 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has received warnings about many tax preparers, including Instant Tax Service in Chicago. A radio commercial for the service promised $1,000 to people filing their taxes. Rita Vigil went to Instant Tax Service seeking the $1,000 and was actually promised a refund of $7,178. However, when she received her refund check, "it was a $589 difference," she said. Instant Tax Service representatives have referred questions to its corporate headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, where it fields complaints from across the United States. Consumers have filed about 800 grievances with the BBB against the firm. BBB President Steve Bernas warns taxpayers to be careful of refund anticipation loans. "It’s not your money," he explains. "It’s actually a loan, so you’re going to pay upwards of 30 to 40 percent APR, which can equate to thousands of dollars that you’re just losing." The U.S. Justice Department has filed a federal lawsuit to shutter Instant Tax Service for intentionally preparing and filing fraudulent tax returns, while charging high fees to do so.
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