With the April 15th tax return deadline approaching, many people turn to tax preparers whether small one person shops or national corporations. Until recently it was up to the consumer to determine if the deal the tax preparer offered was fair and reasonable. Now the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has stepped in to investigate tax preparers for violations ranging from no business license to failure to provide written disclosures for services.
Paid tax preparers are legally required to give customers a written price list, an estimate of cost of the job and when the potential tax refund might be received. Tax preparers are also required to give their clients a copy of the city’s consumer bill of rights (in English or Spanish), which includes information on how to file a complaint about improper service. It is also illegal for a tax preparer to require that a client use their proprietary refund settlement process to pay for or receive services.
If you feel you have been scammed by a tax preparer you should contact the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Services.