ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) – Galaine Knox filed her taxes in 2015 after her husband passed away. That year, she got a surprise IRS bill for nearly $4,000 and couldn’t afford to pay for it. She hoped that future refunds might cover the balance, but in 2021, she called a tax relief company.
FinishLine Tax Solutions, based in Houston, Texas, quoted her $600 to take her case.
Knox said she called the IRS three times over the next two months to find out if anyone contacted them on her behalf, and said no one did.
“I called FinishLine and said I want a refund, and they said we don’t give refunds and hung up on me,” said Knox, who also claimed the company failed to do any work on her behalf.
A FinishLine attorney disputed the claim; said the company followed the terms of its contract; and said the company stopped its investigation because Knox requested it.
The attorney said IRS transcripts show Knox had a $3,800 tax bill in 2015, but in 2022, a refund covered the balance and provided a $1,114 refund.
Even though FinishLine Tax Solutions said it abided by its contract, it has issued Knox a $600 refund.
Here is FinishLine’s statement:
“Finishline Tax Solutions was hired and paid $600 by Galaine Knox in May of 2021 to investigate her IRS tax liability issues for prior tax years. Finishline performed its services under the agreement with Ms. Knox including review of information and many documents received from Ms. Knox, direct contact with the IRS, receipt and review of documents and transcripts from the IRS, and verification of the status and the amounts that were owed for previous tax years by Ms. Knox.
“In June of 2021, Finishline sent Ms. Knox a letter regarding its investigation into her tax issues after which she contacted Finishline requesting a refund of the $600 fee and telling FinishLine to stop any additional work.
“Per Ms. Knox’s request, Finishline did not provide further services. Since Finishline had performed the work under the agreement with Ms. Knox, no refund was made at that time.
“Subsequently, the IRS offset amounts owed by Ms. Knox for prior tax years from the amounts that would have been refunded to Ms. Knox for the 2021 and 2022 tax years.
“Although Finishline fully earned the $600 fee for the services it performed, since there is a possibility that Ms. Knox may not have fully understood the obligations under the agreement which she signed, Finishline has agreed to refund the $600 fee paid by Ms. Knox.”
Tax relief companies provide no guarantees. With smaller amounts, taxpayers are better off putting the debt relief fee toward the IRS balance. In Knox’s case, it would have reduced her tax bill by 15 percent, and she could have set up a payment plan.
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