TROUBLESHOOTERS: Tax Preparer Complaint

POSTED: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - 7:31am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:26pm

Tax time is upon us, but one Newschannel 9 viewer says a local tax preparer never did the work she was hired to do and now she is no where to be found. She called on our Troubleshooter Team for help.

Luis and Dolores Lopez are small business owners. When it came time to file their 2008 income taxes, they decided to go with someone they thought would be knowledgeable about new tax credits for their business, they chose to go with Rebekah Walters & Associates Mortgage Company. The business was highly recommended by a relative.

"From what we know, she's done other friends of his and federal employees," Dolores says.

She tells us she took all her original paperwork to this office in East El Paso back in early September.

"We're talking about all our accounting paperwork, all our income and expenses and because we're a sole proprietorship, there goes our deductions, mortgage interest, charity donations, medical expenses, and church donations," Lopez says.

She had already filed an extension with the IRS in April and was ensured her taxes would be ready by the October 15th deadline. She says she later got a call that her taxes were done.

"The figure was just wrong and so I refused to accept that. They were just going to give me the tax form. I never saw my paper work. If it was ready, why were they not going to give me my paperwork, "she tells us.

Dolores says additional paperwork was requested in order to re-do the work, but it was all information Dolores says she had already provided. Eventually the deadline came and still nothing. When she tried to get a hold of her completed tax return and documents, the office was closed.

"Which now makes us in trouble with the IRS because we haven't filed our 2008 taxes," she says.

Since October, Dolores tells us she has tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of Walters by phone, e-mail, and several visits to the office.

She says, "we've gone in the morning, in the afternoon, in the late afternoon and it's always closed."

We tried too. The hours of operation listed on the business' door say 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but twice when we visited during those hours, the doors were locked. We did, however, manage to speak to an employee.

The woman told us Walters was not there and could not be contacted. As for Dolores' paperwork?

The employee said the tax side of the business was closed and she could not tell us what customers could do to get their paperwork. We tried calling Walters, but could not leave a message because her mailbox was full. We did speak to another employee by phone. He told us Rebekah was aware of that we were trying to contact her and that she was planning to return Dolores' paperwork.

Walters eventually e-mailed a response to us, saying she advised Mrs. Lopez to pick up her paperwork and to get help from another tax preparer, but that Lopez failed to do that.

Lopez says that is not true.

"Somebody has to make her return this paperwork. Where is it? How many people has she done this to and how is it that she's able to do it, " she asks.

The Better Business Bureau tells us they have ten complaints for Rebekah Walters that include allegations of negligence and improper tax filing. If you have a similar complaint, the BBB recommends you file a complaint with them and the IRS fraud division. We'll keep on this story and let you know what happens.

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