How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Matthew Breecher Your Own Question
Matthew Breecher
Matthew Breecher, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 286
Experience:  Director
37297873
Type Your Tax Question Here...
Matthew Breecher is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hewitt prepared my taxes in 2011. I moved from NC to FL that

Customer Question

Jackson Hewitt prepared my taxes in 2011. I moved from NC to FL that year with income from both states. They did not file my NC state return. I have 6 years of penalties because the letters NCDOR sent to my old NC address were never forwared to me in FL because USPS doesn't forward IRS or State DOR mail. Jackson Hewitt says the prepared must have told me that I needed to file a NC return but I must have declined because I owed them money. They don't have notes to that effect but say that they have notes saying I owed them NC money. The prepared is now retired, but before he retired, he told me verbally that he had not notes but that must have been the case. That did not happen, there is no reason that I would not have filed a NC return if that's what I was advised to do. Jackson Hewitt says they are not responsible.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

Hi, my name is Mark. I will be happy to help you with your questions. I am sorry to hear about your situation. Do you have a copy of the 2011 return?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
but not an electronic version
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

Does your copy contain a letter or invoice regarding the services that they would provide.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
they are saying they must have had a conversation with me telling me that I should file a nc return and that I must have declined. I'm saying they didn't. the only thing they say they have is a note in my file saying I owe NC.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
the letter says that they filled my federal return and I'm automatcally covered and will be reimbursed for mistakes and penalties
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

I understand. It would be difficult to prove what was said 5 years ago. Does the copy of the 2011 return contain the North Caroline return? How much is owed to North Carolina? How much is interest and penalties?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
the initial return does not contain the NC return. NC finally reached my through my bank in 2016 and then JH filled an amended return
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I owe NC about $4,000
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

It is going to be difficult to prove that JH failed to file the NC return. If you have a copy of the return, or an invoice that you paid for the service then you would have a stronger position.

Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

I imagine about $1,500 of this is interest and penalties.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
you are correct. they admit to not filling the return, but the reason they give is that I must have declined to file because I owed money. That is not true and they, nor I have proof.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I did pay to have my return done
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
in none of my documentation from the original return does it mention filling a nc retuen
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

Did you pay to have the North Carolina return prepared? Is their invoice itemized?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
return
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

You can still file a return even if you owe money (and do not pay). You would file a return to prevent a late file penalty.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
no, it is not itemized, it simply says tax prep fee.
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

Is there anything in what they provided that references a NC return.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I said earlier, when NC did contact me, i went back to JH and they filled an amended return. I just didn't pay any of the penalties. I've been making payment on the penalties
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
there is no mention in any of my docs about a NC return
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

It sounds like NC prepared a return for you and then you had JH prepare an amended return. I am sorry but I am not seeing a strong position in holding JH responsible for the late filed return.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
you still there Mark?
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

Yes, I am still here.

Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

The only other avenue is what you paid for tax preparation consistent for filing a federal and state return?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
but they didn't file the original return and that caused all the penalties and late fees. They don't show any documentation that they suggested and I denied filling a nc return. They did not suggest it.
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

I do not see what you can prove to show that they failed to file the original return? It does not make sense why they would not file it if you owed money.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
the same guy did my return for several years upon returning. If 2011 is much higher than the others years with just a FL return that would benefit my case... correct?
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

Yes, that would demonstrate the JH did extra work associated with the North Carolina return.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
ok, I have 5 years of return by this same guy who's now retired. You think that's my only shot?
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

I think that is your best shot. It would have been ideal if you had a detailed invoice.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
they don't provide detail invoice. last question, it i do find difference in that years bill vs other years. how do I take legal action? They have told me they are done with me and not responsible
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Mark?
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

If there is a difference, it would be reasonable to assume that the NC return was the cause for the additional fees. Assuming that your tax situation has not changed over the years. You could hire an attorney to pursue action but at the hopes of only gaining potentially $1500. It may not be the risk of attorney fees. One approach you could take is write a letter to the attorney general of the state explaining the situation. You would want to CC the JH office as well as the corporate office. That would be a cheaper option.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I just found the total penalties, it's $2,058. that's what I'm looking to re-coop. would a lawyer like yourself handle this for a few hundred bucks? and if so and I find a major diff in their fees would it be worth pursuing?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
hold on please
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
2011 fees $433
2012 $332
2013 312
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
2013 $312 in fees
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
is small claims court a real thing and can I represent myself?
Expert:  Mark Taylor replied 4 months ago.

I am not an attorney. Let me opt out and allow you to get another opinion. I think most attorneys would charge a retainer in the $1,000 range. Good luck with everything.

Yes, you could represent yourself in small claims. Another option would be have an attorney prepare a letter. This would be less than suing the JH.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
thanks bye
Expert:  Matthew Breecher replied 4 months ago.

Why don't you just start by asking for the fees to be abated? File the form, send the documentation you have with Jackson Hewitt and see what happens.

...

Frankly, you could represent yourself and sue them in small claims court. However, they would probably come back arguing that the statue of limitations expired as you have a breach of contract claim and Florida statute is 4 years. Assuming the work was done in 2012, statute ran out in 2016. Although, they might not even respond for such a small amount and you might get a default judgment if they fail to respond.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks for your response Matthew . Are you saying ask the state of North Carolina to have the visa bated ?
Expert:  Matthew Breecher replied 4 months ago.

North Carolina does allow for automatic waivers and a one-time waiver for most people if they can demonstrate cause.

...

http://www.dor.state.nc.us/practitioner/waiverpolicy.pdf