BBB: Tax company ignored complaints

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Better Business Bureau reports a tax and bookkeeping company in the Mid-South is taking customers' money and not holding up its end of the bargain.

Several people filed complaints, and the BBB claims most of the complaints are being ignored.

With a new baby in their household, the Griffith family is supposed to be having one of the happiest moments in their lives.

"We just want to know where our stuff is," Matt Griffith said.

Vanessa Griffith will be forced off of maternity leave and back to work earlier than expected.

The family said the company never amended their taxes as promised. The delay in service is causing them to lose out on cash to help pay bills.

"We've paid for a service" Matt Griffith said. "That's essentially what my biggest grief is."

"We put out a consumer alert on a company called Rob-Aire Enterprises Incorporated. It's an accounting and bookkeeping company located in Memphis," Nancy Crawford, spokesperson for the BBB Serving the Mid-South, said.

The company was once in good standing.

However, Rob-Aire Enterprises was slapped with a "F" rating with the BBB. According to the BBB, the company ignored several consumer complaints.

"The complaints allege that tax returns were improperly filed or just not filed at all," Crawford said.

WREG heard from multiple customers who said they called the business several times and never received a response.  Some people said they went back to the business in person and still could not get any help.

WREG went looking for answers from the business on Tuesday when an employee answered the door.

"I can't. That's terrible. It needs to be fixed," Nicole Cate responded when told we spoke with people who were upset with the lack of service. "I want to do anything I can to make it right and fix it."

A spokesperson for Rob-Aire Enterprises sent WREG the following statement via e-mail on Tuesday afternoon:

"We have resolved the three complaints from 2013 but we did not send a response to the BBB because we did not know that we needed to.  On the two complaints from 2014 we will also send a copy of the responses to the BBB." - Winnie Kermick-Cate

Once the company submits responses to the BBB, their staff will have to follow up with consumers who complained for verification.

The BBB issued the following suggestions for consumers when choosing a tax preparer.

  • Check the company’s BBB Business Review before signing a contract. Do they have unanswered BBB complaints? A company that failed to respond to another consumer’s complaint may not be responsive to you if problems occur.
  • Remember that IRS rules say taxpayers are legally responsible for what’s on their tax return, even if it is prepared by someone else.
  • Request an estimate and discuss the price before making an agreement. The cost of the service should be determined by the complexity of the return. Steer clear of any tax preparation service that promises larger refunds than the competition or bases their fee on a percentage of the refund.
  • Look for credentials.Ideally, your tax preparer should either be a certified public accountant, a tax attorney, an enrolled agent or a certified E-file provider. Ask if the preparer is BBB accredited. Find out if he or she is affiliated with a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and holds them accountable to a code of ethics.
  • Check to see if the preparer has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).All tax return preparers who are compensated for preparing or assisting in the preparation of all or substantially all of any U.S. federal tax return, claim for refund, or other tax form submitted to the IRS must have a PTIN.
  • Check to see if the preparer has any questionable history with your state’s Board of Accountancy (for certified public accountants), the State Bar Association (for attorneys) or the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for enrolled agents.
  • Remember that a paid preparer is required by law to sign your return and give you a copy. And it's a;ways a good idea to keep copies of all documents you give to a tax preparer.
  • Consider accessibility.Many tax preparation services set up shop for a short time prior to the IRS deadline for filing taxes. They may not be around to help if the IRS notes any errors on your return or you are audited.
  • Read the contract carefully.You should understand how much it is going to cost for the service, how the cost will be affected if preparation is more complicated and time consuming than expected, and whether the tax preparer will represent you in case of an audit.

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