Mayor Rahm Emanuel is cracking down on alleged fraud by tax preparers in the Chicago area.
The mayor recently launched an investigation of 93 tax preparers in the city. All but three of the tax preparers were found to be in violation of city regulations governing their industry, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Some of the violations included operating without a license. Others failed to provide customers with a consumer bill of rights, which they are legally required to do. In total, 203 charges were brought against 90 of the 93 businesses.
Mayor Emanuel said that these businesses are “scamming” honest Chicagoans under the guise of trying to help them, reports the Sun-Times.
In tax preparer frauds across the country, there have been reports of these businesses taking tax payers’ refunds and only returning a portion (or none at all) to the consumer. This practice was not alleged against any of the 90 tax preparers in Chicago, however.
Tax preparation is especially ripe for fraud as you are dealing with cash or check returns and a large gap in expertise. Typically, low-income individuals seek the assistance of tax preparation professionals, and these consumers may be at the mercy of the tax preparer’s “knowledge.” So tax preparers may be able to file the tax returns of these individuals and keep a cut of the refund check without the consumer knowing any better.
As a result, tax preparers may scam and con consumers out of thousands of dollars they are rightfully entitled to.
If you believe that you have fallen victim to such a tax preparation fraud, you should consider contacting a local attorney. A lawyer experienced in consumer fraud can help you review your claim and determine how much you are entitled to. In addition, an attorney can help you advocate for your rights against the tax preparer and ensure that you are not bullied out of what is rightfully yours.
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