2009-01-16 / Community

Consumer Bill Of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer announced that legislation she introduced to enact the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers took effect as of January 1, 2009. The legislation was modeled after the City of New York's successful law regulating paid tax preparers.

"While the majority of tax preparers are trained, experienced and conscientious professionals that provide consumers with the information necessary to make informed decisions, it has become apparent that some consumers are not being well served," said Pheffer. "This new state law helps better educate the consumer on tax preparation practices, including Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs). RALs are often misrepresented as an 'instant refund' to consumers rather than the high-interest rate loans they actually are."

The new statute will: require paid tax preparers to provide their customers with a "Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers" to be created and distributed by the Department of Tax and Finance; prohibit refund anticipation loans (RAL) from being advertised as a refund and require advertisements for RALs to conspicuously state that it is a loan, that fees and interest will be charged.

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