Delays and Risks Await Many Taxpayers in 2017
The holiday season may still be in full swing, but advocates from the National Consumer Law Center and Consumer Federation of America urge Americans to start now to plan for tax-time, especially for those who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). Taxpayers should be aware of new and old problems and risks, including:
- Refund delays for millions of vulnerable taxpayers. Refunds for EITC and ACTC recipients will be delayed until late February, which may cause problems for millions of financially-strapped taxpayers who expect to receive their refunds several weeks earlier.
- Fraud and errors from unregulated preparers. The majority of paid tax preparers are not required to meet any minimum educational, competency, or training standards. Consumers are at risk from preparers who make errors or commit fraud.
- A confusing landscape of financial products. Paid preparers offer and promote financial products that vary in their cost and usefulness. “No fee” refund anticipation loans (RALs) do not charge taxpayers a direct fee and may be tempting to taxpayers facing delayed refunds. But unscrupulous preparers could pad their fees to borrowers and some lenders might impose a hidden fee by charging more if borrowers later opt for another product, a refund anticipation check.
“Tax time is often a tough time for consumers,” noted Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, “Delays created by Congress, incompetent and abusive preparers, and financial products of varying cost will make it even more confusing and tricky.”
Free & Reliable Tax Preparation Services in Georgia
- VITA sites will complete and file tax returns for families with incomes below $54,000. To find a site near you:
- Use the VITA Locator Tool
- Phone: 800-906-9887
- AARP sites have no income maximum or other eligibility requirements. To find a site near you:
- Email: email@example.com
- Toll-free Nationwide: 888-OUR-AARP (888-687-2277)
- Toll-free TTY: 877-434-7598
TAX PREPARATION RESOURCES:
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|Tax Preparation||An infographic, produced by the Consumer Federation of America, that lays out the concerns individuals should consider when choosing a tax preparer.||Choose Your Tax Preparer Wisely|
|Tax Preparation||This list covers all of the documents you will need to file your taxes at any preparation site. Courtesy of the IRS.||What Will I Need to File My Taxes?|
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|ACA & Taxes||If you did not gain minimum essential coverage for 2014, you may owe a penalty on your taxes. Find out how to calculate the penalties and how to know if you are exempt.||Understanding the ACA Tax Penalties|
|Tax Refunds||Due to a new law, individuals claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit can expect tax refund delays. Here are some tips from the National Consumer Law Center about how to manage delays.||Tax Refund Delays|
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|Tax Preparation (Spanish)||Existen servicios de asesoría fiscal que son gratis o económicos disponibles para los contribuyentes de ingresos bajos o medianos.||Eligiendo al Asesor Fiscal Adecuado|