Know Before You Hire a Tax Preparer
Every tax season unsuspecting Chicagoans fall victim to tax preparation firms that use hidden charges and recommend unnecessary and expensive tax refund products like Refund Anticipation Loans (RALS) or Refund Anticipation Checks (RACS) to make a profit at the expense of citizens’ deserved tax refunds.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Tax Preparer ordinance mandates that tax preparers:
•Offer a detailed explanation of their available services.
•Prior to rendering any service must provide the price of each offered service, any and all fees, and an estimate of the total charge based upon the services chosen for purchase.
•Inform customers of the reasonable period of time they can expect to wait for a refund.
•Tell customers they have the right NOT to utilize an alternative settlement product.
•Certify that they provided a clear explanation and the required disclosures.
•Inform customers of their right to file a complaint.
Be careful when selecting a company to prepare your tax return:
•Choose a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or licensed Income Tax Preparer.
•Check the preparer’s history with the Better Business Bureau.
•Ensure the preparer is available to file your return by the April 15 deadline.
•Be wary of preparers who claim they can obtain large refunds.
•Know your rights by accessing the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparation Services or the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparation Services in Spanish
•Find the nearest free tax preparation site at taxprepchicago.org.
Get a one stop checklist: Know Before You Hire a Tax Preparer Flyer
Get more here from the latest BACP Consumer Source.