Woman says she was overcharged for tax preparation

Woman says she was overcharged for tax preparation »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- When it comes to preparing taxes, most of us would rather have a professional do it and get our tax refund as soon as possible.

In January, Bakersfield resident Lavern Kinder said she saw a commercial for Instant Tax Service.

She said the commercial claimed to get the client their refund in 24-48 hours, and if there's no W2, Instant Tax Service can download the W2 on the computer.

Kinder went in to the branch located at New Stine and Planz Road and gave them the necessary tax documents.

"They called me back a couple days later," recalled Kinder. "They said the bank isn't going to do the 24-48 hour refund. So it's going to take 10 to 14 days."

Kinder said Instant Tax Service told her the refund would be $5,967. But when Kinder got her paperwork, she realized she was actually entitled to a $6,428 refund, meaning Instant Tax Service charged her $460 for her tax return.

When Kinder realized how much she was charged she said, "I hit the roof. I'm like, '(Expletive), that's almost $500!'"

Kinder believes she was overcharged.

"I did 24-48 hours last year at Jackson Hewitt, and it cost me $320," she said.

She also believes Instant Tax Service purposely didn't tell her how much they were charging.

Eyewitness News went to Instant Tax Service to get its side of the story, but as soon as a news crew showed up, officials locked their doors and left.

Normally, when a tax service gives you an immediate refund it's a refund anticipation loan, meaning they charge you more, but California law requires the preparer to disclose that to the client.

Kinder said she was never told that and she got her refund 10 days later.

"I signed the papers on the 18th I got my check on the 28th, and it was directly deposited from the IRS," she said.

After going through this, Kinder said she learned a valuable lesson.

"I'm going to do Turbo Tax next year," she said.

Eyewitness News called and left messages with both the local branch of Instant Tax Service, and its headquarters in Dayton, Ohio.

On Thursday, Instant Tax Service headquarters got into contact with the local office, which is a franchise, about the situation.

On Friday, Feb. 19, Instant Tax Service resolved the situation with Kinder.