Hillsborough woman thinks tax preparer fees were too much - WNCN: News, Weather

Hillsborough woman thinks tax preparer fees were too much

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -
Doing your taxes can be frustrating enough but feeling gouged by the fees your charged only adds insult to injury.

19-year-old Ebonee Best of Tampa needed help filing her 2012 and 2013 tax returns.  Between babysitting and a part time job at Burger King she doesn't earn a lot of money.

Best went to the Liberty Tax office at 1266 East Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa.

"I asked her how much are the fees and she said they start at a hundred and up depending on your tax return," said Best.

Best then had a Liberty tax employee prepare her returns on the spot.  She found out she would be eligible for a tax refund of $1,485 for 2012 and $1910 for 2013. For a total of $3395.

That sounded great to Best until she figured out Liberty Tax would be taking nearly $1000 in fees for preparing her returns.

Best feels the $968 charge to do her taxes was excessive.

She went back to the Liberty Tax office and asked for an itemized break down of the fees but feels she never got a good explanation of how and what she was being charged.

The Manager at the Liberty Tax office in question, Michael Simmons, told Eight on Your Side that since Best is self employed as a babysitter, she needed to file additional tax forms and Liberty charges based on the number of forms that have to be filled out.
 
In a written statement to Eight on Your Side,  Liberty Public Relations Manager Bob Smith, in Tampa, said: "We charge $962 for 2 self-employed business forms and 2 personal forms, which is standard pricing for multiple years of returns in this industry. Simpler returns are much less expensive."

Liberty Tax is standing behind the amount it charged Ebonee Best.  The CEO of Liberty Tax Corporate, John Hewitt, says Liberty has a money back guarantee, and if Best is not satisfied with the service, they will give her all of her money back.

According to the American Bar Association, generally, fees are based on the complexity of the return.

In no event, should the fee be based on the amount of the refund and it is illegal for a tax preparer to charge a contingency fee for service.

Related Content: Tips for Choosing a Tax Return Preparer

Related Content: Filing your tax return with a tax preparer from American Bar Association

Related Content: Free Tax Return preparation for qualifying taxpayers

Related Content: Tax Preparation Costs and Fees

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