N.Y. General Business Law Section 372
Consumer bill of rights regarding tax preparers


(a)

A tax preparer shall provide his or her customers with a receipt containing an address and phone number at which the preparer can be contacted throughout the year.

(b)

The department shall, in accordance with regulations promulgated by the commissioner of taxation and finance, produce and make available to taxpayers and tax preparers an informational flier regarding consumers’ rights and laws concerning tax preparers to be called a “consumer bill of rights regarding tax preparers”. The department shall consult with the department of state, to enhance distribution of fliers to consumers. The flier shall also be made available on the department and the department of state’s internet site, and shall contain information including, but not limited to, the following:

(1)

postings required by state and federal laws, such as price posting and posting of qualifications;

(2)

explanations of some of the commonly offered services and industry jargon, such as preparation of short and long federal forms, refund, electronic filing, express mail, direct deposit, refund anticipation check, refund anticipation loan, quick, instant, rapid, fast, fee, and interest;

(3)

basic information on what a tax preparer is and is not required to do for a consumer, such as the preparer’s responsibility to sign a return, that a tax preparer may not be required to accompany a consumer to an audit but the company may have a voluntary policy to accompany consumers to audits; and

(4)

the telephone numbers of the department for information and complaints. The flier shall be in a form which is easily reproducible by photocopy machine.

(c)

The department shall coordinate its response to consumer tax preparer complaints with the department of state, as the department deems appropriate.

(d)

A copy of the consumer bill of rights regarding tax preparers shall be provided to individuals or businesses on request to the department, and shall be sent by the department no later than October fifteenth of each year to each tax preparer who has been found to be in violation of this subdivision or any other provision of this section within the previous calendar year. Each tax preparer subject to this section shall obtain a current consumer’s bill of rights regarding tax preparers from the department and shall reproduce it so that it is clear and legible. As of January first of each year, each tax preparer shall give to each customer, free of charge, a current, legible copy of the consumer’s bill of rights regarding tax preparers prior to any discussion with the customer. Each such tax preparer shall also verbally direct the consumer to review the consumer bill of rights regarding tax preparers and shall answer any questions the consumer may have about its contents.

(e)

(1) Any tax preparer who advertises the availability of a refund anticipation loan or refund anticipation check may not directly or indirectly represent such a loan as a refund. Any advertisement which mentions a refund anticipation loan must state conspicuously that it is a loan and that a fee or interest will be charged by the lending institution. The advertisement must also disclose the name of the lending institution.

(2)

(i) Before any taxpayer enters into a refund anticipation loan, the tax preparer facilitating such loan shall provide the following disclosure to the taxpayer in writing in at least fourteen-point type: “YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ENTER INTO THIS REFUND ANTICIPATION LOAN AGREEMENT MERELY BECAUSE YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS INFORMATION. IF YOU DO SIGN A CONTRACT FOR A REFUND ANTICIPATION LOAN, YOU WILL BE TAKING OUT A LOAN. YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR REPAYMENT OF THE ENTIRE LOAN AMOUNT AND ALL RELATED COSTS AND FEES, REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH MONEY YOU ACTUALLY RECEIVE IN YOUR TAX REFUND. IF YOUR REFUND IS DELAYED, YOU MAY HAVE TO PAY ADDITIONAL COSTS. IF YOU DO NOT TAKE OUT THIS REFUND ANTICIPATION LOAN, YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A GROSS TAX REFUND OF APPROXIMATELY $(insert amount). IF YOU DO TAKE OUT THIS REFUND ANTICIPATION LOAN, YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE TO PAY $(insert amount) IN FEES FOR THE LOAN. AFTER THESE FEES ARE PAID, YOU WILL RECEIVE APPROXIMATELY $ (insert amount) AS YOUR LOAN. THE ESTIMATED ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE OF YOUR REFUND ANTICIPATION LOAN IS (insert amount)%. THIS IS BASED ON THE ACTUAL AMOUNT OF TIME YOU WILL BE LENT MONEY THROUGH THIS REFUND ANTICIPATION LOAN. IF YOU DO TAKE OUT THIS REFUND ANTICIPATION LOAN, YOU CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE YOUR LOAN WITHIN APPROXIMATELY TWO BUSINESS DAYS OF (insert date). IF YOU DO NOT TAKE OUT THIS REFUND ANTICIPATION LOAN, YOU CAN STILL RECEIVE YOUR TAX REFUND QUICKLY. IF YOU FILE YOUR TAX RETURN ELECTRONICALLY AND RECEIVE YOUR TAX REFUND THROUGH THE MAIL, YOU CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE YOUR REFUND WITHIN APPROXIMATELY TWO BUSINESS DAYS OF (insert date). IF YOU FILE YOUR TAX RETURN ELECTRONICALLY AND HAVE YOUR TAX REFUND DIRECTLY DEPOSITED INTO A BANK ACCOUNT, YOU CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE YOUR REFUND WITHIN APPROXIMATELY TWO BUSINESS DAYS OF (insert date).” (ii) Before any taxpayer enters into an agreement to receive a refund anticipation check, the tax preparer facilitating the agreement shall provide the following disclosure to the taxpayer in writing in at least fourteen-point type: “YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ENTER INTO THIS REFUND ANTICIPATION CHECK AGREEMENT MERELY BECAUSE YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS INFORMATION. IF YOU DO TAKE OUT THIS REFUND ANTICIPATION CHECK, YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE TO PAY $(insert amount) IN FEES FOR THE CHECK TO BE ISSUED BY (insert name of issuer of refund anticipation check). YOU CAN AVOID THIS FEE AND STILL RECEIVE YOUR REFUND IN THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME BY HAVING YOUR REFUND DIRECTLY DEPOSITED INTO YOUR OWN BANK ACCOUNT. YOU CAN ALSO WAIT FOR THE FEDERAL OR STATE REFUND TO BE MAILED TO YOU. IF YOU DO ENTER INTO THIS REFUND ANTICIPATION CHECK AGREEMENT, YOU CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE YOUR CHECK BY APPROXIMATELY TWO BUSINESS DAYS OF (insert date). IF YOU DO NOT ENTER INTO THIS REFUND ANTICIPATION CHECK AGREEMENT, YOU CAN STILL RECEIVE YOUR TAX REFUND QUICKLY. IF YOU FILE YOUR TAX RETURN ELECTRONICALLY AND RECEIVE YOUR TAX REFUND THROUGH THE MAIL, YOU CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE YOUR REFUND WITHIN APPROXIMATELY TWO BUSINESS DAYS OF (insert date). IF YOU FILE YOUR TAX RETURN ELECTRONICALLY AND HAVE YOUR TAX REFUND DIRECTLY DEPOSITED INTO A BANK ACCOUNT, YOU CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE YOUR REFUND WITHIN APPROXIMATELY TWO BUSINESS DAYS OF (insert date).” (iii) It shall be the obligation of the tax preparer to complete the required disclosures accurately with all relevant information for each taxpayer and to ensure that the completed disclosure form is signed by the taxpayer before he or she enters into a refund anticipation loan or a refund anticipation check, with a copy of the same provided to the taxpayer. The name and the unique identification number of the tax return preparer (and facilitator, if different) assigned pursuant to Tax Law § 32 (Registration of tax return preparers)section thirty-two of the tax law must be included on the disclosure form provided to the taxpayer.

(f)

(1) If a taxpayer applies for a refund anticipation loan, the facilitator must also orally inform the taxpayer in the language primarily used for oral communications between the facilitator and taxpayer:

(i)

that the product is a loan that only lasts one to two weeks;

(ii)

if the tax refund is less than expected, the taxpayer is liable for the full amount of the loan and must repay any difference;

(iii)

if the refund is delayed for any reason, there may be additional costs, such as additional interest, that the taxpayer will have to pay;

(iv)

the amount of the refund anticipation loan fee; and

(v)

the refund anticipation loan interest rate.

(2)

If a taxpayer applies for a refund anticipation check, the facilitator must also orally inform the taxpayer in the language primarily used for oral communications between the facilitator and taxpayer:

(i)

the amount of the refund anticipation check fee; and

(ii)

that the taxpayer can receive a refund in the same amount of time without a fee if the tax return is filed electronically, and the consumer chooses direct deposit to their own personal bank account.

(g)

Any person, partnership, corporation or other business entity who violates any provision of this section or any of the regulations promulgated pursuant to this section shall be liable for a civil penalty of not less than two hundred fifty dollars nor more than five hundred dollars for the first violation and for each succeeding violation a civil penalty of not less than five hundred dollars nor more than seven hundred fifty dollars. The penalties provided for by this subdivision must be paid upon notice and demand and will be assessed, collected and paid in the same manner as taxes under article twenty-seven of the tax law.

(h)

Apart from subdivision (e) of this section and the accompanying penalties as listed in subdivision (f) of this section, the provisions of this section shall not apply to:

(1)

an officer or employee of a corporation or business enterprise who, in his or her capacity as such, advises or assists in the preparation of income tax returns relating to such corporation or business enterprise;

(2)

an attorney at law who advises or assists in the preparation of income tax returns in the practice of law and the employees thereof;

(3)

a fiduciary and the employees thereof who advise or assist in the preparation of income tax returns on behalf of the fiduciary estate, the testator, trustee, grantor or beneficiaries thereof;

(4)

a certified public accountant licensed pursuant to the education law or licensed by one or more of the states or jurisdictions of the United States, and the employees thereof;

(5)

a public accountant licensed pursuant to the education law and the employees thereof;

(6)

an employee of a governmental unit, agency or instrumentality who advises or assists in the preparation of income tax returns in the performance of his or her official duties; or

(7)

an agent enrolled to practice before the internal revenue service pursuant to section 10.4 of subpart A of part ten of title thirty-one of the code of federal regulations.

Source: Section 372 — Consumer bill of rights regarding tax preparers, https://www.­nysenate.­gov/legislation/laws/GBS/372 (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Jun. 22, 2024).

Accessed:
Jun. 22, 2024

Last modified:
Sep. 22, 2014

§ 372’s source at nysenate​.gov

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