Information Required to be Provided by Tax Preparers

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Agency:
Keywords:

New York City Department of Consumer AffairS 

Notice of Adoption of Rule

Notice of Adoption of amended Rules regarding the content and placement of signage about the tax preparer “consumer bill of rights”, including its distribution in other languages, and signage about the provision of written estimates by tax preparers.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs by Section 2203(f) of the New York City Charter and Sections 20-702, 20-740.1, and 20-743 of the New York City Administrative Code, and in accordance with the requirements of Section 1043 of the New York City Charter, that the Department amends sections 5-66(c) and 6-53 of the Rules of the City of New York, and adds section 5-173 to the Rules of the City of New York.

The rule was proposed and published on September 13, 2017.  The required public hearing was held on October 13, 2017.

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

 

Section 5-66(c) of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York (“6 RCNY”) requires tax preparers to post information regarding how they compute their fees.  Section 20-740.1(b) of Title 20 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York (“Code”) requires tax preparers to provide consumers with a “consumer bill of rights regarding tax preparers” (“consumer bill of rights”) – a  one page informational flier regarding consumers’ rights and laws concerning tax preparers.  Code Section 20-750(a) and 6 RCNY Section 5-70(a) require retail service establishments, which includes tax preparers, to post a price list sign.

The Department has found through numerous complaints that consumers who seek tax preparer services often receive vague, confusing and/or inadequate information about the cost of such services, which has frequently resulted in consumers being overcharged.  Additionally, although Code Section 20-740.1(b) requires tax preparers to provide each consumer with a consumer bill of rights prior to discussion with the consumer, the Department has found that tax preparers do not always comply and, absent a disclosure, consumers have no way of knowing about the bill of rights and their right to receive a copy.  Therefore, the Department improves and expands consumer protections by:

  • clarifying the information that tax preparers must include in the price list sign regarding how they compute their fees and the locations where the sign must be posted;
  • requiring tax preparers to display signage informing consumers that they are entitled to receive a written estimate of fees before compensating the tax preparer;
  • requiring tax preparers to post a sign stating that a tax preparer must provide every consumer with a free, current and legible copy of the consumer bill of rights; and
  • requiring tax preparers to provide the consumer bill of rights in English and in the primary language spoken by the consumer, provided that the Department has made available a translation in such language.

Additionally, the Department is amending 6 RCNY Section 5-66(c) to incorporate the requirements of Code Section 20-750(a) and 6 RCNY Section 5-70(a), which mandate that the price list sign must be posted at each point at which orders are placed and/or payment is made.  The Department would deem compliance by a tax preparer with this amendment to satisfy Code Section 20-750(a) and 6 RCNY Section 5-70(a).

The Department also amends 6 RCNY Section 6-53 – the Income Tax Preparers Penalty Schedule – to include the fixed penalties for violations of the new Section 5-173.