This season is turning dangerous for tax preparers, according to published reports.
Chicago Heights, Ill.: In mid-February a Liberty Tax preparer pulled a gun on a customer’s boyfriend who police said threatened to beat him up during a dispute over fees. The boyfriend, 34, has reportedly been charged with assault after confronting the preparer over $500 in additional fees that the girlfriend was charged for her return. Police told reporters the preparer, 45, had a valid firearm owner’s ID.
Kirkwood, Mo.: A 53-year-old local man is accused of choking an H&R Block worker earlier this month after reportedly becoming enraged about his “tax situation.” Police told news outlets that the assailant knocked the Block employee to the ground and is now charged with misdemeanor assault. The Block worker reported minor injuries but did not require hospital treatment.
Deerfield Beach, Fla.: A bullet narrowly missed the ear of preparer Michelle Merced as she sat in the office of Dixie Fast Tax in late February. “I wanted [tax season] to be busy with people, not bullets, coming in,” she told news outlets. The shooting was connected to a dispute outside her office and police confirmed that Merced and her staff were not intended targets.
The incidents come on the heels of reports of gunfire and the beating of a preparer in the Detroit office of Tax City Tax Service on February 28 by a 19-year-old local man after the woman he was in the office with couldn’t get her refund in cash. Four people were shot in the scuffle and the preparer told news outlets that she plans tighter security when she re-opens her office.
This is hardly the first season refunds and taxes turned clients and their companions violent. Two years ago, according to reports, a Toledo, Ohio, woman and her son robbed and threatened to shoot their Liberty Tax preparer using a curling iron wrapped in a towel.