July 2005 - Met with Mr. John Frey of JK Harris & Company. He took some financial information from me and advised that I fit into a catagory the IRS calls Status 53/Uncollectable. He further stated that JK Harris could also take care of the debt to Kentucky Revenue Department. I specifically asked whether this meant the debts were cancelled/erased/completely forgiven. He assured me this was the case.
I was asked for a downpayment, which I could ill afford, but it seemed the lesser of two evils to resolve my financial woes. Mr. Frey gave me a packet of information and his business card with the invitation to contact him anytime.
I completed a very lengthy financial disclosure packet for him with supporting documentation as requested.
August 2005 - I was contacted by someone in South Carolina who told me she was my case specialist. I had no indication from Mr. Frey that my case would be passed off to someone else, much less someone in another STATE. I was asked AGAIN to complete the same financial disclosure packet. I objected, and told her I was disappointed in unreturned phone calls, lost sensitive files, and being asked more than once to provide the same information.
Delay tactic - redundancy.
November 2005 - My case was assigned to a new "specialist" who advised that the payment history provided would be unacceptable to the IRS. "Payment history of what"??? I asked.
Delay tactic - ambiguity.
I expressed my frustration at being passed from one "specialist" to another, and the details of my financial obligation to JK Harris being misreprented in my initial consultation with Mr. Frey. Actually, I was bold-faced lied to. Mr. Frey told me that the total cost to have JK Harris eliminate my tax debts would be $2,135. After my downpayment of $430, the balance of $1,705 would be divided into ten equal automatic monthly deductions from my bank account. I told him I preferred a payment arrangement whereby I was in control making payments rather than giving JK Harris access to my money. They accept no options other than full payment up front or access to my money electronically.
Later I learned that the ten equal payments were bloated by administrative fees, finance charges, and an annual percentage rate of 18%!
December 2005 - More redundant information was supplied to my "case specialist" along with correspondence I'd received from the IRS and KY Dept of Revenue. (I had been advised from the beginning not to directly communicate with either agency, but to immediately forward all correspondence to my case specialist. JK Harris had requested Power of Attorney paperwork be signed in order to represent me to both agencies.)
January 2006 - I advised my "case specialist" that I'd received an "intent to levy" notice from the IRS, and faxed a copy to her.
February 2006 - Received notice of enforced collection action from KY Dept of Revenue. Immediately sent a copy to my "case specialist". Also advised my "case specialist" that I was doing everything in my power to make ends meet, taking every available short-term, day position at $7 and $8 per hour, while working nights at UPS.
I completed and returned to my "case specialist" the requested updated financial statement and supporting documentation. She acknowledged receipt, and told me she would make corrections, and get the corrected forms out to me within the week.
March 2006 - received a notice from KY Dept of Revenue that a lien had been filed with the county clerk's office. I immediately faxed a copy to my "case sepcialist" asking how a lien could be filed when she was working on my case. I received NO RESPONSE!
I emailed my "case specialist" again asking for an update in my case. Again, NO RESPONSE.
April 2006 - I again emailed my "case specialist" begging for an update in my case. She replied that she needed updated bank and income statements to support the corrections I'd made to the forms submitted in February. She had already acknowledged receipt of supporting documentation in February!
Delay tactic - misplace sensitive docs and request updates.
Getting no response from my "case specialist" and supposed advocate, I called the IRS to find out if they were aware that JK Harris or personnel there employed were acting on my behalf. The IRS advised me that no one was actively seeking a resolution to my case, nor had anyone contacted them in reponse to collection or lien advisories. The IRS further advised that I would be best served to visit the local office and work directly with them, which I did. I was devastated to learn that what JK Harris had told me was a complete erasure of my tax debts was in fact only a temporary delay in collection. The IRS told me that the debt is put on the back burner; interest and penalties continue to grow, forever!
I further learned that the KY Dept of Revenue had filed an order to garnish my part-time UPS wages. It had not yet gone into effect, so they put a hold on the order. The IRS also gave me 30 days to come up with in excess of $8,000! They stated that the money JK Harris had taken from me would have gone a long way toward satisfying my tax debts.
April 29th, I learned that a lein had been placed against my home back in March! I knew something had been filed, but I didn't realize that it was an effective lien, and now my property was encumbered!
JK Harris had done NOTHING in TEN MONTHS, except withdraw funds I could ill afford to lose.
May 2006 - I sent my "case specialist" an email detailing my interaction with JK Harris, my disappointment, and my intent to file compalints with the BBB, the KY Attorney General's Office, and the SC Attorney General's Office. I also sent her a copy of my email, wrote across the top "YOU ARE FIRED" in red marker, and sent a notarized Revocation of Power of Attorney to them via UPS NDA on May 3, 2006.
I was lied to from the beginning by their representative/consultant/supposed "advocate". They prey upon people in dire financial straits; in my case it was due to a spouse's financial irresponsibilities, followed by divorce. They paint a bleak picture, and feed on the general public's fear of the IRS. One is pressed to choose between paying for their empty promises of financial freedom from the IRS or trying to deal unassisted with the most powerful and oppressive department of our government.
I've filed complaints with the Better Business Buerau, the SC Attorney General's Office, and the KY Attorney General's Office.