Avoid ancillary services when getting your taxes prepared

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A Glendale woman says a tax preparation service took her IRS refund and won't explain why. She may have signed up for ancillary services but can't get any paperwork.

Some tax preparation services may offer other services. Some of those services are worthwhile, others, like credit repair, generally are not. If you don't know exactly what you're signing, you may commit to services you don't really want and they can eat up all of your refund.

Jill Santana needed to fix a problem and pay back taxes owed on her 2015 federal return and also file her 2016 return. A friend recommended a company called Nu Republic and Santana says she agreed to $300 for their tax preparation service. Nu Republic confirmed with an email.

"It was just sort of like an e-signature that they emailed me and just said can you please sign this but there was no document or anything attached, 'so, you never saw any paperwork?' No," Santana said.

She never got those documents and whenever she tries to click on the link Nu Republic sent to view her filed 2016 return, it says she's unauthorized.

"I've never received a physical return or anything I've signed for 2015 or 2016," Santana said.

She knows it was filed because the IRS website feature 'Where's my Refund' says her approximately $2600 refund was sent to her bank but she never received the money. Santana says, at first, Nu Republic said they mailed her a check, then later they claimed they kept her refund for fees she owed them.

"I just said can you please explain to me what extraordinary services you provided to have it be $2600," Santana said.

Santana says the fees must be for credit repair services Nu Republic also offered her but she not sure because she's never seen any paperwork she signed and she can't get an explanation.

"I email them over and over again and get no response, you call and it's just a number that rings and rings, if you can leave a voicemail, nobody ever returns the calls," Santana said.

According to their Facebook page and website, Nu Republic is based in a suburb near Atlanta, Georgia but claims to have locations across America. They also seem to go by the name 'Refund Republic.'

According to Santana, after I contacted Nu Republic, they did deliver copies of her 2015 and 2016 tax returns but the company still has not provided Santana signed paperwork showing she agreed to these fees. Santana also says Nu Republic is refusing to meet with her to discuss her $2600 refund.

Based on Nu Republic's lack of cooperation in providing basic paperwork to Santana, we recommend taxpayers use extreme caution when considering Nu Republic. CBS 5 News will continue to monitor this case and provide updates in a follow-up story.

Bottom line: It's smart to avoid any ancillary services during the tax preparation process, just focus on the matter at hand - getting your taxes done. This is an especially good idea if the tax preparer is not well-known to you. Try to stick with known tax preparers.


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