Let’s start on a positive note. I Googled the search terms “I Love JK Harris” to see if I could find any positive press about them. This is the ONLY “press release” I could find:


And there are also numerous positive testimonial segments on the JK Harris website you can read by clicking here.

So, how did you find me? JK Harris complaints? J K Harris testimonials? J.K. Harris feedback? JK Harris client stories? JK Harris nightmares? Just curious.

Our family could really use that $5,000 we were expecting any day now from the class action lawsuit against JK Harris Company.

Back in 2004, a former insurance agent buddy joined the J.K. Harris sales team in our area. He approached me knowing that Katelynn and I got behind in our taxes in 2001 and 2002 due to a very slow start in our new self-employment ventures. I referred to that in an earlier post. We thought about it for awhile, because it was way too pricey for us at that time: $2,500 a piece [arbitrated], plus tax preparation charges [all unfiled years], and financial planning charges [future expense budgeting, etc].

We waited a few years to see if we could “catch up later”.

Uncle Sam caught up with us (naturally). They wanted their back taxes, all of it NOW. Plus interest. Plus penalties. What started out at about $5,500 owed was in to the $20K area now.

I called my friend at his J.K. Harris number. He’s no longer with J.K. Harris. He wouldn’t explain why, just selling truck accessories now. OK. What next? “Call my replacement…”

We called her and made an appointment to meet her at her office in Temple, Texas (no longer there today) this was the summer of 2004.

We showed up but she didn’t. Door locked. No markings on the door (in an office tower). But the office number was right.

I won’t mention her name. But she bragged about being related to a former Texas governor. We did manage to reschedule and meet her in her makeshift office in Temple. I say make shift because it appeared that she was definitely renting a small office. Very sterile room, no photos, a desk, three chairs, and boxes. I didn’t ask questions. The TV commercials somehow gave me something to trust.

We were ignorant and scared, signed our lives away. And the J.K. Harris rep definitely played on those fears. $2,500, plus tax preparation services (they can’t make an offer in compromise until all your past tax forms have been filed–that’s how they get you up front). And financial planning services. Big down payments, and large monthly payments? How much will you offer to settle for? We’ll find out in “typically 6 months” assured the rep. I hope it’s not much, because we spent what little we had saved up to pay JK Harris.

After months of dropped balls at J.K. Harris, new case workers every 3 months (with no phone call follow ups from them, or returned calls or emails), and more and more scary letters from the Internal Revenue Service, I gave up and said, “I will go fix this myself”. To be fair, there were a dozen or calls between us and J K Harris tax prep people (the beginning of the process). But any mistakes made, according to them, “are your fault, you agreed to… and also….” No ma’am, check this email, that email… ” Then I’d get a new preparer. The other ones, they claimed, were ‘promoted, sick, unavailable, yadda yadda yadda’.

OH YOU WILL LOVE THIS: Numerous IRS agents told us pretty much the same thing: “If you are able to pay back taxes from property, assets, family loans, stocks, liens, levies, … YOU WILL PAY IT ALL BACK. What the I.R.S. website has to tell you about Offer In Compromise, click here.

My experienced advice today: Hire an “enrolled agent CPA”, work it out with the I.R.S. IMPORTANT: ASK THE C.P.A. IF THEY ARE AN ENROLLED AGENT!

I’ve heard horror stories from others, however the IRS agents we dealt with in person and on the phone were very willing to help us, and surprisingly friendly. They didn’t threaten. They didn’t talk down to us. Gave us extensions until we could get it all straightened out. The enrolled agent found deductions we didn’t know about. It cost us about $100 in CPA fees per tax year.

We worked out an AFFORDABLE payment plan with the I.R.S. Got our back taxes RE-filed correctly. Today, we’re mostly good… considering how our fears nearly put me us in the poorhouse. Our monthly back tax payments are around $300 per month. No more letters or calls from Uncle Sam. Any tax refunds or credits go towards our back taxes. I can live with that. I screwed up, I’ll pay for my mistakes. And I’m back to doing my civic duty, which helps me sleep a little better.

I considered suing J.K. Harris for our money back. My attorney is a junk yard dog. He sued the the third (now) largest radio corporation in the U.S. and got my employment contract payed off.

Anyway… Just when I was about to take it to my attorney I get a letter in the mail inviting me to join a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT against the company. WE ARE IN. We sent in copies of our contracts and waited. Couldn’t sue J K Harris anyway (in the original contract). Why would any sane person sign a transaction agreement that reads “you cannot bring suit against us”? Scared ones, that’s who. And I’m an insurance agent. Contracts are my livelihood. What keeps people from suing me? Full disclosure, ethical selling practices, and PROMPT CUSTOMER SERVICE.

We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I think it was maybe two years ago when we were first contacted by the class action law firm. I wish I would have found THIS gentleman in California’s nightmare article regarding his experience with J.K. Harris before I threw my savings away*. (Thanks Eric for adding this post to your awesome article).

The sad ending is that we lost our hard-earned funds. All gone. Well…

Katelynn and I both got a check TODAY for our first class action suit settlement payment. $14.53! Fourteen Dollars and Fifty Three Cents. Gross. I’ll be taxed of course for that “income”.

This generous payment was attached to a really lame explanation letter:


Enclosed is your first pro-rata payment from the JK Harris Class Action Settlement.

This payment is based on amounts you paid to JK Harris on your contract for tax resolution services, which included the preparation and negotiation of an Offer of Compromise.

In accordance with the terms of the Settlement, this payment is made from the remaining Settlement Fund after deductions of all items including the cost of Claims Administration, Attorney Fees, and service awards to the Class Representatives.

This payment must be cashed no later than August 12, 2009.

JK Harris will continue to contribute payments to the Settlement Fund until $6 million has been paid to the fund in accordance with the Settlement. This is estimated to occur in November of 2011. Therefore, you will receive subsequent payments on a yearly basis in 2010, 2011, and the final payment by 2012. Each payment may be of a different amount, dependent upon the balance of the Settlement Fund after deductions of all items including the cost of Claims Administration, Attorney Fees, and service awards to the Class Representative.

If there are questions regarding your payment, please write to the address above, visit the website at http://www.oicsettlement.com/ or call the JK Harris Settlement Administrator at 1-866-903-1201. The Order approving the Settlement and JK Harris’ payment schedule is available for review on http://www.oicsettlement.com/.

JK Harris Settlement Administrator


The only winners from the lawsuit are the attorneys and the administrators. I can’t sue or “arbitrate” against J K Harris Company now because I “participated” in the class action lawsuit. At least the 1st amendment allows this post.

Take the money you plan to pay a tax settlement firm and use it to hire an “enrolled agent CPA” to re-do your taxes, find your mistakes, and work out a payment plan with the I.R.S. Hell, with the new administration, there may even be more relief in sight for back-tax-owers.

I did get a “timely” email the other day from one of our Republican lawmakers working on legislation that will do away with back tax interest and late penalties. I know it won’t pass, but all the BS or FOUTAISE is starting to catch up with them.

If you’ve had a bad experience with J.K. Harris (or considering hiring any tax settlement firm) please research it all on Google first — and leave a comment below! You are wiser than I was. You’ve found this post in your quest to check out J K Harris or other tax settlement firms.

I could actually write so many PAGES about this nightmare here, but as I look over what I’ve posted so far, I’m very depressed about it all over again. So I’ll wrap up.

If my $5,000 loss keeps you from taking your tax fears and hopes to an outside tax relief firm… then it is money well spent for us.

One last thing. After we made our payout agreement with the IRS, I called two other tax relief firms (from TV ads). Both times, the firm reps told me “you got a good deal worked out for yourself, we couldn’t possibly work out a better settlement for you.” At least those two reps were honest (though pissed about my probing, educated questions).

Paying estimated taxes every quarter is a challenge for us, but it’s the law. And it’s theirs, for now. If you find yourself falling short, contact the IRS…” stop the leak before there’s a flood”. They’d rather work with you now, when it’s within your grasp, than when it’s out of control and they have to start putting liens and levies on everything. If you don’t respond to their letters… it IS a response: the wrong one.

*You may wonder if we had money in savings, why didn’t we use it to pay back taxes. I always tried to put away 6 months living expenses away in case of a radical financial emergency. I considered it untouchable… later… I considered hiring J K Harris “a radical financial emergency”. You’re absolutely right. It would have saved us THOUSANDS to use that money to pay our taxes ON TIME.

New related post above.

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