You work hard for your money.
This time of year, you’re probably thinking about your tax return, how much you’ll get and how to spend it.
But several local people never received their tax refunds and are accusing a tax preparer of stealing thousands of dollars.
At least two different customers who filed with a local Jackson Hewitt never received their money. One was owed almost $300.
The other earned more than $10,000.
The same woman prepared both of their taxes.
Jon Taylor had big plans for his $10,100 tax return.
The truck driver and father of three planned to use it as a down payment for a house.
He filed with a Jackson Hewitt location in the 5700 block of Detroit Avenue at the beginning of January.
Taylor’s tax preparer offered him a $200 advance on a debit card. He waited and waited, but no money ever appeared on the card.
He couldn’t reach that tax preparer, so he went back to the Jackson Hewitt location where another employee told him all of his money was deposited onto another card which he didn’t have access to.
“It’s a lot of money, a lot of work. I work five days a week, eight to ten hours a day,” Taylor told us.
Taylor called the police and made a report.
At that time, another man entered the Jackson Hewitt, claiming he never received his $279 return.
Records showed that man’s taxes were completed and deposited to a bank in Utah.
Both that man and Taylor had dealt with the same woman at Jackson Hewitt.
That woman is now accused of Grand Theft by Deception, leaving a trail of evidence linking to her own cell phone number and email.
Taylor’s trying to stay positive, but says he’ll go to court if he has to -- to get the money he deserves.
“Gettin’ angry’s not gonna change it,” Taylor said. “I’m a little sad, a little frustrated.”
Being issued a tax refund on a debit card is now commonplace, but you need to be careful who has access to your account information.
The IRS suggests choosing your tax preparer wisely. Make sure they have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number and ask them for professional credentials -- even if they work for a reputable service.
Jackson Hewitt released this statement to WKYC:
“We have taken immediate action to support an investigation by local law enforcement into the complaints against this tax preparer. While no charges have been brought against this individual, we had previously terminated her employment. We continue to execute strong remedial measures and are cooperating with local law enforcement. Should other customers have any questions or concerns, they can reach our local office at 330-734-6780 or call our national number at 1-800-234-1040.”
If you suspect tax fraud or know of an abusive return preparer, report the activity to the IRS using form 3949-A, Information Referral. Click here for more information.