News broke earlier this month that the Department of Justice has filed civil injunction lawsuits in five major cities in an effort to shut down Instant Tax Service and its franchises. The tax service company has allegedly filed tax returns without the consent of its customers. The company supposedly targets low-income individuals who need tax refund money instantly; customers sign a boatload of paperwork to receive quick and easy cash loans in advance of income tax refunds only to find out later that Instant Tax Service will file customers’ taxes without permission and then hold customers’ refund checks until the client pays an exorbitant amount of money in fees to ITS.
Consumers are alleging that ITS has preyed on low-income areas and taken advantage of those in need. In some cases, tax refunds were filed without the customer’s W-2. The paperwork used to secure the cash loan, has sufficient information to file for a refund which is how Instant Tax Service is able to receive its clients’ refund check without permission. Justice officials are calling the fees charged to ITS customers “outrageously high” and estimate the total fraud in five major cities to be $16 million. The Justice Department also noted that Instant Tax Service allegedly trains its employees to file fraudulent tax returns.
Linda Webb aka The Fraud Dog, leading fraud expert, is warning all consumers to beware of tax service companies and always thoroughly read documents prior to signing. Before entering into any type of contract, it is wise to do your due diligence about the company. In the case of ITS, there have been over 800 complaints since 2009 regarding Instant Tax Service. A simple search on BBB.org would reveal troubling information about the company and could save the consumer thousands of dollars and a major headache.
To report potentially fraudulent activity, contact The Fraud Dog at 1-855-FRAUD-DOG.