The tax resolution giants are taking a hard fall again. This time, it's JK Harris, the mega-firm that gave our industry a bad name. Don't get fooled by these out of state salesmen that take your money and leave you twisting in the wind with your tax problem. Call a local, licensed lawyer to navigate these rough waters of the IRS with you. Call Travis Watkins at 405-607-1192 today.
It should come as no surprise, then, that JK Harris is taking bankruptcy and shutting its doors. JK Harris has about 20 state attorney generals after it for consumer fraud, as well as a $6 million class-action settlement, and a $1.2 million dollar settlement it owes the Texas State Attorney General. Texas was trying to put JK Harris in receivership, and the company opted to go the bankruptcy route instead.
December 31, 2011, JK Harris finally let all its employees go, thus ending the saga of consumer exploitation for the moment. The unfortunate thing is that the company's remaining assets are far from sufficient to pay off the consumer settlements, and JK Harris will likely dissolve without consumers seeing the money that JK Harris took from them over the years.
An even more frightening rumor is floating around that another notorious tax resolution giant is circling the wagons to buy out JK Harris for "pennies on the dollar." Publicly-traded, Houston-based tax resolution firm, Tax Masters Inc. (not coincidentally, another recipient of an F rating with the BBB) may be the stalking horse of what remains of JK Harris. Tax Masters is also no stranger to consumer complaints and state attorney general lawsuits. Watch the ABC News Exclusive here.
So, what does this mean to the Oklahoma consumer? Beware the massive sales tactics and marketing of the out of state tax giants! These outfits spend enormous amounts of cash on advertising to snare you at a very vulnerable time of your life. Unfortunately, it appears that a new outfit seems to pop up right in the spot where the last one left off.
What should Oklahomans look out for? Here are 3 things:
1. Beware an out of state salesman. I have never understood why an Oklahoman would hire someone in California, Texas or some place outside of Oklahoma to talk to an IRS revenue officer in Oklahoma City, but it happens. You should hire a local, licensed lawyer to represent you at this rough patch in your life. These out of state guys are tricky, though. IRS problem cases are lucrative for them. They have been known to fly in from out of state and rent one of those pay-by-the-hour office suites to give the appearance that they reside here in your own back yard--they don't! Do your homework on these outfits! Which leads us to the next item;
2. Check their credentials. These outfits talk about former IRS agents and tax professionals. Well, what does that mean? The majority of the employees of these outfits charged with the responsibility of taking calls and making sales pitches and promises are salesmen, not tax professionals. If you are going to hire someone else to help you with your tax problem, you need a local, licensed lawyer to handle it. A great source for finding a lawyer in this specific niche (and it is a niche practice) is a lawyer ratings service, such as Martindale Hubbell. Make sure the lawyer is peer-reviewed and "AV-Rated," which means that the lawyer has the distinction of preeminence among his fellow lawyers. Make sure that lawyer is going to charge you a flat rate (i.e. not by the hour) to see your problem through from start to finish. Also, check your local Better Business Bureau ratings to make sure the lawyer is rated and has an A rating.
3. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look, not everyone is an offer-in-compromise candidate, and not every case is one where the taxpayer can settle for pennies on the dollar. If they tell you that you are a likely candidate without seeing the professionals' financial analysis of your situation, you are being mislead.
We have all the credentials mentioned above. Don't go it alone or with some out of state outfit you give your hard earned money to, hoping they will do something about your tax problem. Call Travis Watkins at 405-607-1192 today.