Tax preparers must now display taxpayers’ rights and meet other standards to ensure ethical service to customers
Submitted by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance announced the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers has been bolstered to better protect the public from dishonest tax preparers who prey on unsuspecting New Yorkers.
“While most tax return preparers are honest professionals, some take advantage of their position of trust and access to sensitive information to scam customers out of their hard-earned money,” Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Amanda Hiller said. “Before hiring a tax preparer, I urge taxpayers to take steps to protect themselves, such as by making sure their preparer follows ethical practices and recently enhanced rules of conduct.”
Tax return preparers must:
√ Post their New York state tax preparer registration certificate and price list;
√ Tell you up front whether they will represent you if your return is audited later;
√ Ask you about your income, expenses, family and any other information or documents needed to accurately complete your return;
√ Allow you to review your completed return – including your bank account information – and ask questions before you sign it;
√ Give you a written statement of any interest and fees you will be charged if you choose a refund anticipation loan (refund advance) or a refund anticipation check (refund transfer) instead of having your refund deposited directly into your bank account;
√ Sign your tax return and enter the preparer tax identification number (PTIN) and New York tax preparer identification number (NYTPRIN), if applicable;
√ e-File your tax return;
√ Give you a year-round address and phone number you can use if you have questions or concerns about your return; and
√ Provide you with a copy of your filed return.
If your tax preparer does not follow these requirements, you may file a complaint with the Office of Professional Responsibility at www.tax.ny.gov (search: tax preparer complaint).
Tax return preparers must also:
√ Post Publication 135.1, Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers; and
Tax Department investigators will be conducting compliance checks throughout the personal income tax filing season, which is currently underway, to ensure tax preparers are following these requirements. Tax preparers who fail to do so will be subject to fines and the potential suspension of their tax preparer registration.
Verify Your Tax Return Preparer’s Credentials
Certain tax return preparers must register annually with the Tax Department and post copies of their current registration certificate.
To confirm your tax return preparer’s credentials, see Verify your tax return preparer or facilitator.
File a Complaint
If your tax preparer does not comply with the requirements in the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers, you can file a complaint online with the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.