8 on Your Side: Hidden Fees in Tax Preparation Services

LAS VEGAS - Grace Fernen regrets choosing convenience when it came to her taxes.

"It seemed so convenient," she said. "I got a flyer in the mail, and it said, ‘We can loan you money, and you can do your taxes with us for $39.99.'"

Wanting her refund sooner rather than later, she checked it out.

"I gave them my W-2, my Social Security and my 401k," she said.

After they filed for her, Fernen received a surprise. Her refund totaled $351, but she was only going to get $90.

Fernen was charged numerous fees. She never asked specifically how much the return would cost her. She believed the sign at the store that advertised $39.99. The fine print reveals the deal is only for people filing one W-2 form. Extra forms cost extra.

"I was so naive and so silly," she said.

She regrets her impulse decision to get her taxes done. She says next time she'll use a free option that is offered to seniors across the valley.

In the meantime, she offers advice for others. "Make sure you ask a lot of questions before they start running your taxes," she said.

One question to consider is if you qualify for free tax preparation. The United Way of Southern Nevada, AARP, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) are offering free or discounted tax preparation for people making less than $51,000.

If you have a consumer complaint you want investigated, contact the 8 on Your Side team at 702-650-1907.


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