Tax prep firm already had legal trouble

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - News Leader 9's Consumer Watch Team has discovered that Friday's raid by the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit was not Joche and Associates only brush with the law.

A lawsuit was filed in 2007 against Joche and Associates by the State of Alabama Department of Revenue.

It claims the firm prepared tax returns which contained a pattern of claiming excessive and or non-existent deductions; a pattern of not reporting taxable income; as well as claiming false expenses and or excessive losses.

Among several other items listed in an agreement, Joche and Associates was ordered to pay $10,000 and must not conduct business in Alabama.

We also went to the Better Business Bureau to check ratings for Joche and Associates and Tax One.  There is not much information listed on Tax One and we couldn't find anything on Joche and Associates.

Local BBB President Leonard Crain says information has been pulled since the IRS raid and will be updated once his office gets more details.

Crain did confirm that Joche and Associates had a total of 13 complaints over the last three years, none in the past 12 months, and all of them have been answered.

He says most complaints were from customers about not getting copies of their returns.

As for Tax One, it had 10 complaints in the last three years, five of which were filed in the last year, and all of them had been answered.

Crain says those complaints were also regarding copies of returns as well as questions about fees.

Both Joche and Associates on Auburn Avenue and Tax One on Buena Vista Road were open for business Monday.

At Joche and Associates, the owner wasn't in when we visited, but workers told us they're asking all customers who filed returns at the Auburn Avenue location between January and March 20th of this year, to contact the IRS.

A person who identified himself only as someone who was "helping out" at Tax One, also stated the office was open for business and they would be glad to help any customer who had questions.

A spokesperson with the IRS would only tell Newsleader 9 that officers were there on "official business" Friday.  When asked what "official business" generally entails, the spokesperson said, "executing an arrest warrant, executing a search warrant or some type of seizure".

The IRS also would not comment on whether customer complaints had been filed with them against Tax One or Joche and Associates.