“Pennies on the dollar” may be a great pitch on cable television, but it’s not a surefire business plan. Desperate taxpayers who have paid money up front to JK Harris to resolve their tax debts at a discount are joining the IRS as potential “pennies on the dollar” creditors now that this leader in the tax settlement industry is filing for bankruptcy protection.
This is the second major blow this year to cable TV ad revenues. Earlier this year “Tax Lady” Roni Deutch gave up her law license in the face of charges that she took fees up front to resolve tax debts and failed to follow through.
Tax nerds see the late night ads when we get home and wonder how these outfits manage to get such great deals out of the IRS when getting the Service to actually forgive tax debts is like pulling teeth from a grumpy rhino for the rest of us.
TaxMasters now stands as the biggest remaining player in the TV tax settlement business, but they have their own problems. They were de-listed last month from the OTC Bulletin Board to the pink sheets for failing to file their 10-Q due August 15. The last reported trade for Taxs.pk is at 13 cents. They have also been sued by the Minnesota Attorney General for allegedly deceptive practices. ABC News reported on the suit:
The Minnesota attorney general says many of the company’s employees are skilled tele-marketers who have little knowledge of the complicated tax issues faced by people who have fallen behind in filing their returns or making tax payments. “When you call, you think you’re talking to a tax professional,” said Swanson. “You’re really talking to just a salesperson who’s trying to get you to sign up.”
So maybe the secret is that the late night settlement outfits are staffed by telemarketers who just happen to be awesome at selling pennies-on-the-dollar deals to the IRS. If that’s true, though, they seem to be having a lot of trouble turning what would truly be a remarkable and valuable skill into profits.
I.R.S. to Drop Suit Against UBS Over Tax Havens [DealBook]
UBS is finally dropping those 4,450 names it owes the IRS and skates past the civil charges.
3PAR Accepts Revised Dell Takeover Bid [WSJ]
“3PAR Inc. on Friday accepted an increased, $1.8 billion takeover offer from Dell Inc., a day after Hewlett-Packard Co. raised its offer in a bidding war for the data-storage company.
Dell’s revised offer matches H-P’s Thursday bid of $27 a share for 3PAR, whose software helps companies manage and store data more efficiently.
The fight over 3PAR illustrates how important it has become for tech companies to dominate the emerging technology known as cloud computing, in which data are managed and accessed over the Internet. Dell and H-P both sell storage products and see 3PAR’s assets as important additions to their portfolios as large technology companies seek to serve all the needs of corporate-technology departments.”
When Litigation Kills the Accounting Profession-Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned! [FEI Blog]
Jim Peterson of Re:Balane guest posted over at FEI Blog where he discussed his speciality – risk surrounding the Big 4.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Trying To Buy Consulting Revenue Again With Diamond Deal [Re:The Auditors]
Francine McKenna discusses PwC’s recently announced purchase of Diamond Management & Technology including whether some of Diamond’s consultants bailed early to avoid becoming a cog in the another public accounting firm, “Did some of the employees bail out before they were signed on as sterile strategists for an ineffective firm struggling under the weight of consulting ‘leadership’ with audit-shaped heads? I know for sure that there were significant groups of BearingPoint consultants that would have rather masticated glass shards than work for a public accounting firm again.”
Official Statement [Roni Deutch: The Tax Lady Blog]
Roni Deutch says Jerry Brown, California’s Attorney General-cum-Democratic nominee for Governor, is playing election year politics. Seems plausible.
Finance Execs React to Herz’s Retirement [CFO]
No one is panicking.
SEC vows more actions over crisis [FT]
The FT is finally getting to the story about the SEC bringing more actions, changing the culture with new teams, yada, yada, yada. Except not everyone is buying it, “[S]everal judges have questioned the SEC’s deals with Citigroup and Bank of America, and some plaintiffs’ lawyers believe the regulator has been too soft.
‘There’s no real difference now to what it was like before Mary Schapiro became chairman,’ said Jacob Zamansky, a lawyer for investors and longtime SEC critic.”
Boeing Postpones Dreamliner Delivery Until 2011 [WSJ]
You’ll have to come up with a different Christmas gift for the boss this year.
“She promises to significantly reduce their IRS tax debts, but instead preys on their vulnerability, taking large up-front payments but providing little or no help in lowering their tax bills.”
Okay, who’s got no plans on Friday? Work? Bah. How about you go to the Nets game against the Orlando Magic instead? Sure they’re terrible but you’ll get a coupon that is redeemable at a Roni Deutch Tax Center to get your state return done for free (a $29 value!).
Yes, we said the Nets are terrible but to put it more accurately, they’re atrocious. So atrocious that they have the worst attendance in the NBA. You need your tax return prepared; the Nets need fans. Let’s make this happen. We’re not saying you have to paint your face or anything but show up and drink a beer or two. You can always leave at halftime.
And even if you’re bound and determined to prepare the return yourself, there will Roni Deutch reps at the game to answer your tax questions. Again, free of charge. Of course they’d prefer if you just handed over all your paperwork and coughed up the $185 to have your federal return done too but it’s really about being a fan and supporting the team:
“It’s easy to jump on the Lakers’ bandwagon,” said [Roni] Deutch, who claims to have been the first girl to play Little League baseball on an all-boys team in her home state, California. “The hallmark of a strong company is one that aligns with young companies. I’m a betting woman, and I think the Nets are going to win a championship this decade.”
Write it down.