Cleveland Officials Considering Tax Preparer Regulations

[photo: Matt Richmond / ideastream]

Cleveland City Council is considering a law that would regulate storefront tax preparers. At companies like H and R Block, Jackson-Hewitt and Liberty Tax Service, there are no licensing or training requirements for preparers under state or federal law.

Lou Tisler of the non-profit community development organization Neighborhood Housing Services in says a survey of ten tax services in the Cleveland area conducted by his organization last year found mistakes in every return.

“Whether it was regarding earned income tax credit, child care, selling goods and services, 1099’s, things along those lines, if there was anything that was anything that was stretched out past the 1040 EZ, there was a good chance that there would be an error in the tax return," says Tisler.

The proposed regulations would require licensing and ongoing training for preparers in Cleveland. Companies would also have to provide more disclosure up front on fees and services offered. Tisler says the city should follow up by sending secret shoppers into tax preparers to test their work. The state chapter of the National Association of Tax Professionals did not respond to a request for comment.


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