Owner says big backlog is why complaints piled up against St. Lo - KMOV.com

Owner says big backlog is why complaints piled up against St. Louis tax service

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RefundRepublic. Credit: KMOV RefundRepublic. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

 A steady stream of customers showed up at the RefundRepublic tax service at 3558 Osage on Monday to voice complaints, but the business was closed most of the day. Things were different on Tuesday.

"When I called the IRS they said my taxes haven't been filed yet. I filed my taxes on February 5. They should be here by now," said Phillip McDonald.

McDonald was one of several customers who told News 4 that they paid to have the business prepare and file their taxes, but that weeks had gone by and their tax returns were not filed and they had not received their refunds.

 "For us it's terrible," said Mabendo Ndeke, another frustrated customer.

The tax preparation business finally opened around 4 p.m. News 4 went inside to get answers and an employee ran out the back door. She eventually returned and agreed to talk if we wouldn't record video of her. She said all the problems were because of one particular employee.

Shortly after 6 p.m. a man identifying himself as J.A. Salam arrived and said he was one of the tax preparers and an agent for the corporate owner. He confirmed that most of the problems were because of one of the preparers who had met with clients and taken their information but failed to file many of the returns.

"It's not a reflection of our company. We're getting to the bottom of this," said Salam.

While a News 4 crew was there, Salam reimbursed McDonald the $40 he paid to have his taxes done. And another unhappy customer showed up to demand his paperwork so he could take it to another business.

Tuesday, Salam told News 4 the business just took more orders than they could handle.

"I take full responsibility for what it appeared to be but nobody did anything wrong, she was just backlogged," Salam said. "The young lady we're speaking about, she got backlogged. She had so many clients and not just her, myself and others it was the same way."

Tuesday, the business was focused on addressing the backlog and offered to do the taxes for free for one frustrated customer.

"This is stand-up guy, Dr. Salam, he took care of me," said McDonald.

A spokesman for the IRS said that anyone who believes a tax preparer has overcharged them or acted improperly should file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau as well as with the IRS. The federal agency also advises people to be very careful about who they choose to prepare their taxes and recommends you check with the IRS to verify that someone is a federally licensed tax preparer. 

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