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Low-Income Tax Filers Targeted With False Promise of Big Refunds

  • Illinois attorney general sues over deceptive practices
  • Earned income tax credit gives enticing target for preparers
The tax preparing firms in the complaint were founded in 2013 and 2015.

The tax preparing firms in the complaint were founded in 2013 and 2015.

Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Michael Anderson and his wife, Kathy, spun his tax preparer’s electronic “prize wheel” and won a promise from the company to double their refund.

That never happened. Instead, the preparer charged the Andersons more than twice as much as Anderson says he was told, made mistakes on the federal return and, without Anderson’s permission, told the Illinois department of revenue that he wanted to donate his 2017 state refund to charity, according to a complaint filed last week by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.