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Investigation affects those with tax preparer jobs in Chicago

Posted on February 18, 2015

The city-wide investigation is hitting those who have tax preparer jobs in Chicago.

The investigation found 65 percent of tax preparation businesses visited by City inspectors were not in compliance with the City ordinance regulating tax preparation services.

The City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) investigated 409 known tax preparers and found that 65 percent of the businesses visited by City inspectors were not in compliance with City ordinance.

As a result, four businesses received cease and desist orders; 13 received notices to correct their (limited business license) licensing; 334 Administrative Notices of Violations (ANOVs) were issued to 147 businesses that will have to appear at administrative hearings.

Fines for each violation can range from $50 to $10,000 per offense. There is the potential for $94,600 to $340,750 in fines based on the ANOVs issued.

Last year, the City’s free income tax assistance program helped more than 20,000 Chicago families and individuals receive more than $32 million in tax refunds and credits. This additional income not only has a direct impact on the lives of Chicago residents – it helps sustain our small businesses, strengthens our neighborhoods and infuses millions of dollars into our local economy. Chicagoans could receive up to $6,750 from the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits.

“I want to educate the public seeking these services to know their rights when working with a licensed tax preparer so ensure they aren’t being deceived while trying to pay their taxes,” said BACP Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek. “These investigations will continue in order to protect consumers from predatory practices. We will shut down unlicensed businesses and take action against businesses that don’t follow the City ordinance.”