CHARLESTON -- Attorney General Darrell McGraw has settled with Multi Services Inc. dba H&R Block in Philippi.
The H&R Block franchise is engaged in the business of preparing income tax returns for West Virginia consumers.
The H&R Block franchise in Philippi purchased advertising inserts in two local newspapers, the Barbour Democrat and the Mountain Statesman. The inserts were mailed to about 7,900 West Virginia consumers and falsely advised consumers, "West Virginia law REQUIRES that ALL residents returns must be filed ELECTRONICALLY."
Apparently, the franchise misinterpreted a new statute that requires tax preparers filing over 100 returns to file electronically, but it does not require individuals to file electronically. Based on this misrepresentation, McGraw was concerned West Virginia consumers would feel compelled to utilize the services of the H&R Block franchise to prepare and file their income tax returns.
The assurance requires the franchise to refrain from making such misrepresentations in the future, issue a retraction of the misrepresentation to West Virginia consumers and reimburse any consumers who file a meritorious complaint with the Attorney General's office.
The retraction was scheduled to run in the Feb. 28 and March 7 issues of the same local newspapers in which the inserts originally were placed.
"This Assurance prohibits Multi Services Inc. from misleading West Virginia consumers regarding the legal requirements of filing an income tax return, particularly during the tax preparation season," McGraw said in a press release