Crowd outside Charlotte tax agencies want money - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Crowd outside Charlotte tax agencies want reportedly promised money

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Police in Charlotte were called to several locations of a tax service agency after large crowds showed up looking for money they were reportedly promised.

The crowds began to gather at the Instant Tax Service at 1520 West Boulevard in Charlotte on Friday afternoon, as well as the Instant Tax Service location a few miles away on Freedom Drive.

The Better Business Bureau in Charlotte says they have had several complaints about the company at locations in Gastonia, Rock Hill and Charlotte.

The Gastonia location sent out refund checks to customers who filed their 2011 taxes only to have the checks bounce at the bank.

Other locations promised customers their refund checks Friday but no checks were to be found.

Instant Tax Service was accredited by the BBB in January of 2010.

People in the crowd told WBTV that they had filed their taxes with the company and were told to come pick up money today.  When they arrived, the business was closed and no one was in the building.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers arrived on the scene attempting to calm the crowd and take statements from customers who feel they were ripped off.

But it remains unclear just what the issue is in getting frustrated customers their tax refunds.

On Thursday the Internal Revenue Service issued an alert to tax professionals warning them to expect delays in tax refund checks due to a system upgrade.

Anyone who filed their taxes with a tax professional between Jan. 17-24 can expect at least a week delay in receiving their refund.

The typical time to process a tax return is 6-10 business days, according to the IRS. Returns filed between Jan. 17-24 can expect a timeframe of 14-16 business days.

However, there seems to be a bigger issue at Instant Tax Service.  Several customers said the company lured them in back in December by handing out $50 and $100 in cash as "Christmas bonuses" for choosing to do business with the company.

Several customers said multiple radio and television advertisements promised customers would get their tax returns faster by going through Instant Tax Service.  Some are even alleging the company filed their taxes without ever looking at their W-2 forms, a practice condemned by the IRS.

As of Friday night, most customers were promised they would see their money in a week.  Some reported Instant Tax Service was taking as much as $800 from their return as payment for filing their taxes.

The IRS says the fastest way to get your refund is to file through e-file using direct deposit.

Click here to report suspected fraud or abuse by a tax preparation company.

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