Attorney General Darrell McGraw Secures Refunds for Victims of Bogus Tax Compromise Services by JK Harris
CHARLESTON – In a settlement reached today by West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw with a South Carolina tax resolution firm, consumers who paid the company to resolve tax obligations with the Internal Revenue Service but were provided with no relief will receive a full refund.
Attorney General McGraw announced that an Agreed Order was entered in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County with John Harris and his business, JK Harris & Company, a South Carolina-based company that advertises nationally that it can negotiate consumers’ IRS obligations and save them thousands of dollars.
Following a June 2008 Consent Order to halt similar practices by the company, the Attorney General received additional complaints from consumers who had been told by JK Harris that they qualified for an “Offer in Compromise” (OIC) only to later discover they did not. Consumers who qualify for the OIC program have most of their tax liability waived and pay only a percentage of what they owe to the IRS. However, the IRS accepts less than 25% of the OIC applications it receives.
Today’s Agreed Order resolves this and other issues raised in the state’s petition for contempt filed by Attorney General McGraw’s office on March 31 and provides for refunds for affected consumers. “There are many tax settlement scams being advertised on late night television,” Attorney General McGraw warned. “It is always best to get an opinion from a local tax consultant before responding to these commercials.”
In the previous Consent Order, JK Harris agreed to stop falsely representing to ineligible consumers that they qualified for an OIC with the IRS and to stop charging consumers any fees to apply for the OIC program unless the company could demonstrate that the consumers were, in fact, eligible.
Since the entry of that 2008 settlement, the Attorney General received complaints from four consumers who paid fees to JK Harris after they were told by the company that they qualified for OICs but actually did not.
Under today’s Agreed Order, JK Harris will provide these consumers with full refunds totaling $14,180.00. Other consumers who paid JK Harris money to obtain an OIC for them and did not qualify for the program can file complaints with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. Consumers who file complaints by August 26, 2011 will be eligible for a full refund from JK Harris.