15 Jun Bankruptcy J.K. Harris: After NC Attorney General Among Those Settling With J.K. Harris
Update: J.K. Harris filed for bankruptcyin 2011 in South Carolina following numerous troubles with consumers, after many troubles such as those described below. It started as a Chapter 11 but converted to Chapter 7 in January 2012.
If you Google “J.K. Harris”, the website for the tax debt firm is followed closely by websites filled with consumer complaints with the company.
- Bankruptcy may provide protection while you pay taxes, and might even be able to write off some taxes, interest and/or penalties
Bankruptcymay provide better protection, and often gives better or similar results than many attempts to settle debts. There are many protections afforded fortax debt in bankruptcy, as well as other debts.
Chapter 7orChapter 13may write off the debt completely (depending on the age). Chapter 13 might provide government backed protection from collection efforts while the consumer is makes payments in a repayment plan.
As reported in the Associated Press article: 18 state Attorney Generals settled with SC tax debt firm numerous state Attorney Generals settled with J.K. Harris with both a monetary settlement and an agreement with the company to change it’s advertising practices.
Complaints against the company included unfulfilled promises for tax help, taking money from consumers without knowing if they could be helped, and refusing refunds if they couldn’t be helped.
The complaints against the company that are seen on various websites included being garnished by the I.R.S. while working with the company, being passed from rep to rep, promises of offer in compromise with the I.R.S. that never materialized, and other frustrations.
The problem with a company like J.K. Harris is like many other companies that promise to settle any debt, the offer to settle debts often begins by collecting funds from consumers to pay their own fees first, without any legal assurance of protection for the consumer.
However the creditor that J.K. Harris deals with is the Internal Revenue Service and the I.R.S. packs a much stronger punch than many creditors.
According to the Associated Press article,
JK Harris charged money upfront for this service without actually determining if consumers qualified for an OIC or while knowing that consumers in fact didn’t qualify, the complaint alleged.
The complaint said the IRS accepts only a small number of these kinds of cases. In many cases, JK Harris did not even apply to the IRS to assist consumers as promised, and refused to give those consumers their money back.
The statement said that under the terms of the consent judgment, JK Harris must make clearer disclosures to consumers and refund them if the company is not able to work out a compromise with the IRS.
The company must tell consumers under what circumstances they might qualify to reach a compromise with the IRS on back taxes and provide an accurate percentage of how many OIC offers the IRS accepts. The company must also refund consumers money if the IRS does not accept their case.
The statement said the judgment also applies to JK Harris Financial Recovery System LLC and Professional Fee Financing Associates LLC, both owned by John K. Harris.
States participating in the judgment along with Massachusetts were Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia.
In order to compare what can be done, consult with a licensed attorney who is knowledgeable about the debts that you are having problems with, and also with consumer bankruptcy law.
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By Susanne Robicsek, Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney in Charlotte NC
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