Contact 2: Tax Debt Bad Business Practices

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - A young mother pays out thousands of dollars hoping to reduce her tax debt with the IRS.  But her good intentions collide with bad business practices.  The woman felt like she was being swallowed up by back taxes.   She grabbed what she thought was a life line from a South Carolina based tax relief company.   But now Kena Sloan knows the company she hired did nothing to pay down her back taxes.  In January 2011 she signed with JK Harris & Company.

'I do owe the IRS.  I don`t have a problem with that.  But in order for me to get it established, I was like let`s go through this particular company let`s get it settled.  But it didn`t happen that way. '

She made bi-weekly payments for over a year.  Last week she learned the IRS had not received a dime.   That's because JK Harris & Company filed for bankruptcy in January 2012.  There was no notice.

'I spoke with someone, my representative in December.  She said they were making company changes,   Never once did I receive a letter from JK Harris about bankruptcy.  Ms. Sloan we`re no longer representing you.  I haven`t received anything from JK Harris. '
Kena lost almost seven thousand dollars with Harris and still has other bills.

'I have a mortgage I have to pay. I have a daughter, I have utility payments, I have a car note.'

This past March company founder John K. Harris was found in contempt for failure to disclose his income and assets.  In 2007 a class action lawsuit filed by the Attorneys General of 18 states claimed deceptive practices.  The Missouri Attorney General's office sued in 2008.  Kena knew nothing about the lawsuits.

'It`s so frustrating, because I went through a lot just trying to pay JK Harris on time.  I did everything I was supposed to do.   I thought it was a reputable company. They were always on the TV commercials saying:  Call J K Harris and settle your debt with the IRS.  I trusted them.'

Kena is working closely with the IRS to pay her debt.  If you owe back taxes start with the IRS before you bring a third party into the process.  And if you have a complaint about a tax relief company contact the Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission.  We have links on our website FOX2   if you have a consumer issue call Contact 2 at 1 800 782-2222.  Volunteers take calls Monday through Thursday from 11am till 1pm.

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Contact 2 has resolved consumer complaints totaling millions of dollars over the years. Those cases have not only brought peace of mind to the consumers who asked Contact 2 for help, but also shed light on allegations of deception and wrongdoing levied against businesses, contractors and government agencies.

Our team focuses on gathering the facts about what happened. The process involves seeking out both sides of the story. It’s not always what consumers want to hear, but we have an obligation to be fair to the entity accused of causing the problem. Working to clearly understand the details is an important part of the job. Sometimes these cases can be resolved quickly. Other times, Contact 2 will spend weeks or months getting to the bottom of the problem. We appreciate the patience of those who’ve asked us to help them.

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