Sometimes, when it sounds too good to be true, it is.
JK Harris and Company, LLC, a national tax debt firm that promised to help folks settle tax debts, has agreed to change its advertising practice and pay millions of dollars in restitution under a settlement with attorneys general in 18 states. The settlement also affects JK Harris Financial Recovery System LLC and Professional Fee Financing Associates LLC, both owned by President John K. Harris.
JK Harris signed the agreement with the legal heads of 18 states but remarkably denied any wrongdoing, claiming that it had entered into the agreement to make the industry better.
“We are pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement with the states,” said Josh Baker, the firm’s director of communications. “We have made every effort to cooperate with them and believe the agreement we have reached will make our company and our industry stronger.”
Among the allegations against JK Harris was that the company regularly advertised it could help people who owed taxes to the IRS by filing an Offer in Compromise while knowing that the taxpayers may not qualify. The company took money upfront for this service, it was alleged, and the money was not refunded.
This isn’t a first. Prior suits against the company were filed by attorneys general in 2004 and 2005 (sensing a pattern?). Further, the Better Business Bureau has issued an “unsatisfactory” rating for the company headquarters based on complaints.
The statement said the judgment also applies to JK Harris Financial Recovery System LLC (also rated Unsatisfactory by the Better Business Bureau) and Professional Fee Financing Associates LLC, both owned by John K. Harris.
The states involved in the settlement are: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia.