Mistake on tax return filed by office costs couple $7,000

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A warning as we enter tax season: If you pay a preparer to handle your returns and a mistake is made, the IRS is still going to come after you to payback any overpaid refunds. One local couple is finding that out the hard way.

You see tax preparers opening up shop all over town right now, but one couple says the owner of one shop made a $7,000 mistake on their returns back in 2012, and they were not getting any help with it -- until we showed up.

Craig and Latasha Joseph got a letter form the IRS no wants to receive.

"That we owe over $7,000 because false school credits were filed," Joseph said.

That error added $7,000 to the Josephs refund check and now the IRS wants the money back. The couple says their returns were handled in the office owned by this man, Kris Carrier.

The Josephs say over the last year Carrier did not provide any help resolving the problem. So we asked Carrier what was happening with that $7,000 mistake.

"I think the ball was probably dropped on this one, working with less staff or what have you on the last year or so," Carrier said.

While we were interviewing Carrier, the Josephs stopped by the office with a few questions of their own.

"You filed school credits, I wasn't even in school that year, you filed without our signature," Craig Joseph told Carrier.

"Like I said there was an error, and it happens. We are all human, we make errors; they received, you know, they received the refund and they did not have the money to pay it back, so," Carrier said.

Carrier added he could amend the Josephs' tax returns but the couple has already hired another accountant to fix the problem. They want Carrier's tax preparer ID number so they can file complaints with the IRS and with Colbert/Ball, with whom Carrier operates an independent franchise.

"We can sit down and we can discuss it," Carrier told the Josephs.

"So now you are willing to sit down? We had to bring the news to your place to get a resolution," Craig Joseph replied.

And we have good news to report, as of Tuesday evening, the Josephs were told by Mr. Carrier that he will give them a check to cover the full amount the IRS wants. Carrier told me a mistake was made and he will give the Joseph's a cashier's check on Monday to make things right.

On a side note, the IRS states that the taxpayer has to refund the agency if a mistake is made, not the preparer, so be sure to look over every line of your return before a paid preparer sends it off.
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