Monday, March 30, 2009
Help Me Howard: IRS
It's getting close to tax time, time to hopefully get a tax return to help you pay your bills, but be careful if you hire someone to do your taxes because even if your return is filled out properly, problems can pop up, and guess who gets a call from the IRS? That's what happened to one South Florida woman, and it's why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Most homes are filled with family pictures. The Ricks have them, including their newest addition.
Janice Ricks: "We all love Barack. Right about now he is a family member. That's why he is on the family table."
The president makes her smile, but the government makes her groan. Janice's problems began when she got this letter from the IRS about a tax return.
Janice Ricks: "Stating that I owe the IRS $2,638. I thought this had to be a huge mistake."
When Janice contacted the IRS, she found out the tax return she approved for electronic filing had $5,000 in deductions. The one her preparer turned in had $16,000 in deductions, inflating her tax return.
Janice Ricks: "I received $1,524."
"And how much did his tax return receive?"
Janice Ricks: "$2,604."
Janice never knew about it because the $2,600 was directly deposited into her preparer's account.
Janice Ricks: "The guy that did my taxes explained to me that my routing transmittal number was incorrect so therefore the money went to his office. What I got was a check from his company."
Janice got her $1,500 return, and apparently the preparer kept the extra $1,100, but guess who the IRS says has to pay the money, plus interest back to Uncle Sam?
Janice Ricks: "A huge headache."
Janice thinks the preparer who re-did her taxes without her knowledge should be punished.
Janice Ricks: "He needs to be held accountable. He needs to pay the IRS whatever money they say I owe."
Not only is Janice outraged, she is scared and does not want to mess with the IRS.
Janice Ricks: "I had IRS problems years and years ago. I know of three people. I don't play with IR and S."
Apparently, the tax preparer tried to cheat the IRS, but is she responsible? Let's ask another guy who wants nothing to do with the IRS, Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "Janice is responsible to the IRS. In other words, she has to pay the money that was stolen and the interest, and the preparer is responsible to her. In other words, he has to pay her the money she owes to the IRS, and then he has to worry about going to jail because defrauding the IRS is federal crime."
When I spoke to the IRS, they started an investigation of the apparent tax fraud. I also called the tax preparer who said he had no idea this had happened, that he would check it out. Without even asking Janice for proof that the IRS was demanding the money, he gave her these three money orders for the $2,600, but he is not off the hook. He still has the IRS to deal with, and if you are doing your taxes you need to be careful.
Howard Finkelstein: "No matter who prepares your returns, you are responsible, so read every line before you sign it, or if you file electronically, make sure its your account information, and then stand there and watch them e-file it with the IRS. Its your money, keep an eye on it
Janice Ricks: "Oh, I am thrilled."
Janice got the money to pay off the IRS. She is happy, and so are we.
Janice Ricks: "Oh, I love him, I love him. I couldn't have done this by myself. I still would have been running in circles had it not been for Help Me Howard and Patrick Fraser. I am a fan for life."
Patrick Fraser: "Janice's personality will make you smile. The lesson here, watch the preparer, and you can call the IRS after you file to check to see when your return is coming and for how much. That information will warn you if any changes were made on your return."
Taxing troubles taking a toll on you? Need someone to show you the right form? Contact us. We don't audit, but we oughtta be able to help.
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