Woman: Tax prep service charged me hundreds

LBS Tax Service storefront

March 1, 2013 8:21:19 PM PST
A tax prep service is under fire from taxpayers who say the company is hiding fees. In some cases, those fees can zap hundreds of dollars from a person's refund check.

There are many places around town that will file your taxes for free, but even if you decide to pay someone, be sure you know the costs up front, or risk a nasty surprise when your refund comes in.

Tiffany Evans was planning to file her taxes online but decided to try a different tax service this year.

"Over the phone I asked them, 'How much do they charge?' They said $75," she said.

Evans says the price was right and decided to go to LBS Tax Service to get her taxes filed.

"She said if I have to use extra forms, it is going to be extra money, and I said OK," she said.

Evans says her preparer then said a "Schedule C" needed to be used.

"I said, 'How much is it going to be since you used the extra form?' and she said, 'Well, this is the amount that is going to be deposited into your account,'" Evans said. "So she skipped over my question, and I allowed her to skip over."

Evans says only after her refund came in did she find out how much the return cost.

"She said our fee was $650," Evans said.

Evans admits to signing forms at the office but says no one ever explained the final total until well after the return had been filed.

"That's a common theme in the complaints that we have seen. People are under the impression that they are going to be paying one price, and the final price that they end up paying is much different from that they were quoted," said Monica Russo with the Houston Better Business Bureau.

Russo says several taxpayers have filed complaints about LBS. Officials with LBS Tax Service told us over the phone that taxpayers are told about extra charges.

Evans says otherwise.

"I did not know until I received my email how much they actually charged me," she said.

We asked LBS Tax Service for a formal statement on Friday but have not heard back from the company.

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