We know a lot of you look forward to those tax returns, but if you're not careful you could wind up losing some of your hard earned money.
Leslie Bass had it all figured out. This was going to be her tax year! "Excited, my baby was excited." In addition to filing her taxes early, she just knew she'd be getting a big refund check.
MORE: Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South
To make sure she was getting the biggest check possible, she says she decided to do some comparison shopping and get an estimate at Reliable Taxes on Winchester in Memphis. "Just an estimate, that's it."
She says she walked out and decided to file elsewhere. Bass says, "come to find out, once I filed my taxes with someone else, they (Reliable) filed my taxes without my permission."
She claims no one even called to tell her that her refund check was back. She also says Reliable promised her a $3,000 refund but she only got $1800 and she was charged $300.
"Ultimately she's going to have to sign the tax return, so if she didn't sign the tax return and they filed it, who signed it?" Nancy Crawford with the Better Business Bureau brings up a good question. We asked Leslie and she says it appears Reliable filed with an electronic signature. So, Leslie says she went back to Reliable Taxes to confront owner Randy Williams. "He didn't talk to me. When he finally did, he told me they were supposed to tell everyone who walks in, they're supposed to get their taxes filed."
We called Reliable Taxes several times and no one ever picked up. When we stopped by, during normal business hours, not a soul in sight.
We did some digging and learned that the Reliable Tax location on Winchester has only been open since December 3rd. Since then, three complaints have been filed with the Better Business Bureau. "That could be a red flag that maybe things aren't quite right," says Crawford.
Leslie says she filed a complaint of her own - with the IRS. She's not getting that big refund check but she is getting her story out there and hopes it will help someone else.
Before you choose a tax preparer, do your homework. It could save you a lot of money.
Just so you know, anyone can prepare your taxes.
Beginning in 2014 if you want to prepare someone else's taxes you'll have to pass a competency test. Right now there are 309 tax companies listed with the Mid-South BBB. Eleven have an 'F' rating.