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Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, October 13, 2017
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed 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 proposes to improve and expand 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 receiving services from 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 proposing to amend 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 proposed amendment to satisfy Code Section 20-750(a) and 6 RCNY Section 5-70(a).

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

Subject: 

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Location: 
New York City Department of Consumer Affairs
42 Broadway 5th floor
New York, NY 10004
Contact: 

Casey Adams; 212-436-0095; cadams@dca.nyc.gov