Sweep Nets Hundreds of NYC Tax Preparers Violating Laws

February 29, 2012
Accounting Today 

A two-week blitz by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) on the practices of tax preparers resulted in nearly 850 inspections citywide and netted more than 1,000 citations to preparers who falsely represented their qualifications, violated consumer rights, or unlawfully advertised refund anticipation loans as "instant" or "rapid" refunds. Agency officials said they issued violations to about one out of every three preparers they inspected, and the total fines from the sweep could reach $1 million in punitive damages. DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and his department targeted tax preparers charged with prior violations last year and in 2010 in addition to other preparers located in neighborhoods with large minority populations and high usage of refund anticipation loans. The department is urging residents to take advantage of free or low-cost tax preparation options and to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit.
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