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Report – Preparer Fraud, High Fees, and Tax-Time Financial Products Plague Consumers

“As the tax season goes into full swing, advocates from the National Consumer Law Center and Consumer Federation of America have issued their annual report on the tax-time consumer issues: It’s a Wild World: Consumers at Risk from Tax-Time Financial Products and Unregulated Preparers. The biggest problem cited by the report is the lack of regulation for paid tax preparers. “This year, tens of millions of consumers will use paid preparers to fill out one of the most important financial documents of their year,” stated Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC). “Yet most of these preparers are not subject to any minimum educational, training, or competency standards.” The lack of regulation has allowed incompetence and abuses by tax preparers to flourish, putting consumers at risk of audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or even criminal sanctions. Another problem faced by consumers is that they cannot get price quotes or estimates about how much a paid preparer will charge them.”

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