Tax service in hot water over preparing returns - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

FOX 5 I-Team investigates

Tax service in hot water over preparing returns

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

Every year people pay too much to have tax returns prepared, and usually they are returns that can easily be done for free. But, if you really hate doing your own return, you might want to pay anyway – but only so much.

Lucretia Marshall says she paid hundreds of dollars more that she says she agreed to pay. Whether you're desperate to get your tax refund to pay bills or not, it's your money and there's no point in giving more of it away than you have to.

When the I-Team tried talking with LBS Tax Services on Campbellton, they got a quick "good-bye' from an employee.

Marshall says she hasn't gotten much further since she complained to the BBB that she was "lied to" and "given excuses" by LBS Tax Services over the cost to file her taxes.

She says the LBS tax preparer handed her a Post It note with an estimate of how much her refund would be.

"The sticky said about $2,500, basically around $2,500," said Marshall.

She says the amount didn't seem right and asked LBS how much they were charging.

"At that point I'm told $799. I said, "Oh, no," Marshall said

This single mom pushed back.  She says she clearly negotiated a lower fee for her relatively simple return.

"I said the most I'm willing to pay is $400.

TheI-Teamtalked to IRS licensed tax preparer Bill Nemeth. He says she was right to fight the $800 fee.  

"Typically, we would all agree that that's outrageous," said Nemeth.

In Mashall's Better Business Bureau complaint, she says she did ultimately agree to $450. Weeks later she got her return, and it was a smaller refund than she'd planned.

"They took $821 out," said Marshall.

The I-Team tried talking to the people at LBS Tax Services on Campbellton Road. They did not want to explain how a simple return could cost over $800.  They even went as far as to cover the windows. Marshall says she wrote in her BBB complaint that management admitted to her they overcharged her.  

"She said, ‘Ma'am I agreed to do it for $600.' I said ma'am if you agreed to do it for $600. You took $821," Marshall said.

But since then, she says communication is dead. She is out money that she desperately needs, not for anything fancy, but for real world problems.

On Monday, the Texas Attorney General's Office issued a restraining order against the Florida headquarters of LBS Tax Services. According to the Florida Secretary of State's office, the owner is a man named Walner Gachette. Gachette, according to Georgia records, runs several local LBS locations.  

But, the City of Atlanta has no business permit on record for the Campbellton Road location. The city tells the I-Team they will be investigating the branch office soon.

Here are free filing and in-person options to consider when doing your taxes:

1. Free Electronic Filing Program

2. IRS Free File

3. Free tax preparation sites

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • Fox 5 I-Team

    Cheap vs. Frugal

    Cheap vs. Frugal

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:15:25 GMT
    There is nothing wrong with saving a buck, but can you cross the line? There is a difference between being cheap and being frugal.
    There is nothing wrong with saving a buck, but can you cross the line? There is a difference between being cheap and being frugal.
  • Fox 5 I-Team

    Save on Vacation

    Save on Vacation

    Monday, April 21 2014 9:56 AM EDT2014-04-21 13:56:05 GMT
    Thinking about vacation is a lot of fun. Thinking about what it'll cost you is not so fun. Here are some ideas for cutting costs.
    Thinking about vacation is a lot of fun. Thinking about what it'll cost you is not so fun. Here are some ideas for cutting costs.
  • Get Financially Fit: A Step-By-Step Plan

    Get Financially Fit: A Step-By-Step Plan

    Monday, April 14 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-04-14 13:15:13 GMT
    April is Financial Literacy Month, so it's time to think about getting financially fit.  Let's start with two questions. Do you know how much you spend each month?  How much of your check should you save?
    April is Financial Literacy Month, so it's time to think about getting financially fit.  Let's start with two questions:  Do you know how much you spend each month?  How much of your check should you save?
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Hidden Treasures: April 24

    Hidden Treasures: April 24

    Thursday, April 24 2014 9:32 AM EDT2014-04-24 13:32:15 GMT
    We asked you to share your hidden treasures with us, and boy, did you ever! We got dozens of emails from viewers who wanted to know what the items they had stashed away are worth.
    We asked you to share your hidden treasures with us, and boy, did you ever! We got dozens of emails from viewers who wanted to know what the items they had stashed away are worth.
  • Weekend Event Celebrates "Anything With A Motor In It"

    Weekend Event Celebrates "Anything With A Motor In It"

    Thursday, April 24 2014 9:10 AM EDT2014-04-24 13:10:13 GMT
    If you spend your days fixing up cars, reading car magazine, and dreaming about that car you've always wanted...you might be a car enthusiast.
    If you spend your days fixing up cars, reading car magazine, and dreaming about that car you've always wanted...you might be a car enthusiast.
  • Safely restrain pets with the PupSaver

    Safely restrain pets with the PupSaver

    Thursday, April 24 2014 8:07 AM EDT2014-04-24 12:07:29 GMT
    Most people treat their dogs just like their children. However, when it comes to dog safety in the vehicle, many drivers are buckling the children up but not safely restraining their pets.
    Most people treat their dogs just like their children. However, when it comes to dog safety in the vehicle, many drivers are buckling the children up but not safely restraining their pets.
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices