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Kan. accounting firm settles for wronged tax returns, judgement received.

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TLDR:

  • A Wichita accounting services business, Bookkeeping N Beyond LLC, and its owner, Nicole Clem, have entered into a consent judgment with the Office of the Sedgwick County District Attorney.
  • An investigation by the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division found that the business and its owner violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act by failing to file tax returns, not disclosing their inability to electronically file taxes, and misleading consumers about tax refund delays.
  • The consent judgment requires the defendants to pay $120,000 in civil penalties and investigative expenses, be on probation for 12 months, refund impacted consumers, and cooperate with any future complaints. They are also prohibited from engaging in deceptive acts.

A Wichita accounting services business, Bookkeeping N Beyond LLC, and its owner, Nicole Clem, have agreed to a judgment with the Office of the Sedgwick County District Attorney in Kansas. The consent judgment comes after an investigation by the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division into consumer complaints regarding unfiled tax returns.

The District Attorney’s Office alleged that Bookkeeping N Beyond LLC violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) by failing to file tax returns as promised, not disclosing their inability to electronically file taxes, and misleading consumers about the reasons for tax refund delays. The investigation identified at least 16 impacted consumers, two of whom were protected consumers over the age of 60.

Clem and her business denied intentionally violating the KCPA but accepted the consent judgment to resolve the matter. According to the agreement, the defendants will be liable for $120,000 in civil penalties, additional investigative expenses, and court costs. They will also be on a 12-month probationary period with the Consumer Protection Division.

As part of the judgment, Clem and her business are required to refund impacted consumers whose 2021 tax returns were filed late or had to be filed by another accounting service. They must also reimburse consumers who had to pay late fees or penalties due to the delayed filing. The business has begun the process of notifying potentially impacted consumers.

In addition to the financial penalties and reimbursements, the consent judgment includes a permanent injunction prohibiting Bookkeeping N Beyond LLC and Nicole Clem from engaging in deceptive or unconscionable acts. They must also cooperate with any future complaints.

The Sedgwick County District Attorney reminds residents to ensure they have written documentation of the scope of work and promises made when hiring a professional for a service. It is important to document all deadlines and agreements. The District Attorney also advises researching service providers, such as checking the Better Business Bureau website. When filing taxes electronically, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) states that a refund should be received within three weeks.

Overall, the consent judgment reached between Bookkeeping N Beyond LLC, Nicole Clem, and the Sedgwick County District Attorney highlights the consequences of violating consumer protection laws regarding tax services. The judgment serves to protect impacted consumers, impose financial penalties, and prevent further deceptive practices by the accounting firm and its owner.

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