Bonamici Calls for Additional Consumer Protections for Taxpayers

Apr 10, 2017 Issues: Consumer Protection

WASHINGTON, DC [04/10/17] – As millions of Americans prepare to file their taxes, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) has reintroduced a bill to protect taxpayers and their refunds from unscrupulous tax preparers.

“Most tax preparers are honest, but the complicated tax process creates an opportunity for some to take advantage of people,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “Preparers can add hidden fees or skim funds from a filer’s refund without upfront disclosure. It's often low-income Americans who are most at risk, including working families who are counting on their Earned Income Tax Credit to help them make ends meet. The legislation I’ve introduced includes multiple safeguards to ensure that preparers are behaving ethically and accurately disclosing their fees.”

The Tax Refund Protection Act provides greater protection for consumers by requiring tax preparers to fully disclose the fees they will charge for preparing a tax return, the time filers can expect to receive their refunds, and any additional fees associated with a refund anticipation check. You can read a summary of the Tax Refund Protection Act here.

“Consumers deserve greater transparency surrounding the for-profit tax preparation industry,” Bonamici continued. “Filers should not have to worry about being overcharged because their preparer has a better understanding of the process than they do. The protections outlined in this bill will bring greater oversight to tax preparation and allow consumers to make informed choices.”

The bill also requires the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to regulate refund anticipation checks, which are often used to extract higher-than-anticipated fees.

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