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Tax-Relief Company JK Harris Settles With Attorney General

CONTACT: Julie Brill, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5479

July 3, 2008 - JK Harris, a tax-relief company that claims to be able to settle your debt with the IRS for “pennies on the dollar” has agreed to stop misleading consumers about its services and pay $1.5 million in refunds nationally, announced Attorney William H. Sorrell today.

“Consumers paid for tax help and got nothing but headaches in return,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “We’re making sure that JK Harris provides refunds to consumers who were harmed.”

Attorney General Sorrell and 17 other state attorneys general entered into a settlement with JK Harris and Company, L.L.C of Charleston, SC, and its president, John K. Harris. The settlement is contained in an Assurance of Discontinuance filed today with the Washington Superior Court.

The Vermont Attorney General was concerned about JK Harris’ conduct with consumers, including the following:

  • JK Harris did not help consumers with their tax problems as advertised and refused to give refunds when consumers complained that promised services were never completed.

  • JK Harris regularly advertised that it had more than 450 offices nationwide, but these offices did not help consumers once they paid their fee to JK Harris; instead, only the home office in South Carolina could assist consumers.

  • JK Harris claimed that consumers files would be handled by “tax experts” or “ex-IRS agents” when in fact the people handling the cases did not have tax expertise.

Under the terms of today’s Assurance of Discontinuance, JK Harris must make clearer disclosures to consumers. The company must tell consumers under what circumstances they might qualify to reach a compromise with the IRS on back taxes and how often the company is successful in reaching a compromise for customers with the IRS.

Any Vermont consumer who filed a complaint with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, the Vermont Consumer Assistance Program, or the Better Business Bureau, or who files a complaint with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office within the next 90 days will be eligible for a partial refund from JK Harris. More information about this Assurance of Discontinuance and Vermont consumer protection in general may be found on the website of the Vermont Attorney General at www.atg.state.vt.us. The Refund Request claim form is available for consumers.

States participating in the judgment along with Vermont are Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.