The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a two-week-long enforcement sweep of tax preparers across the city and issued violations to one out of every three preparers it inspected, mainly for violating laws governing refund anticipation loans and disclosure of their true qualifications and fees.

The department conducted close to 850 inspections citywide and issued over 1,000 violations to tax preparers who misrepresented their qualifications, violated consumer rights, or illegally advertised refund anticipation loans as “instant” or “rapid” refunds. Total fines from the enforcement sweep could reach close to $1 million. The agency is encouraging taxpayers to instead take advantage of free or low-cost options for preparing their taxes and claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit.

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