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Protect Yourself from Bad Tax Preparers: Know Your Rights

Tax preparers must display taxpayers’ rights and meet standards to ensure ethical service to customers

For Release: Immediate,

For media inquiries only, contact: Ryan Cleveland, 518-457-7377

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance encourages taxpayers to know their rights when hiring a tax preparer. New York State’s Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers establishes standards to help protect the public from dishonest tax preparers.

“Before hiring a tax preparer, taxpayers can review the state’s Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers to make sure their preparer follows ethical practices and standards,” said New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Amanda Hiller. “While most tax return preparers are honest professionals, some take advantage of their position of trust and access to sensitive information to scam customers out of their hard-earned money.”

In New York State, registered tax return preparers must: 

  • post their New York State Tax Preparer Registration Certificate and price list;
  • tell you up front whether they will represent you if your return is audited later; 
  • ask you about your income, expenses, family, and any other information or documents needed to accurately complete your return; 
  • allow you to review your completed return – including your bank account information – and ask questions before you sign it;
  • give you a written statement of any interest and fees you will be charged if you choose a refund anticipation loan (refund advance) or a refund anticipation check (refund transfer) instead of having your refund deposited directly into your bank account;
  • sign your tax return and enter the preparer tax identification number (PTIN) and New York tax preparer identification number (NYTPRIN), if applicable;
  • e-file your tax return;
  • give you a year-round address and phone number you can use if you have questions or concerns about your return; and 
  • provide you with a copy of your filed return. 

If your tax preparer does not comply with the requirements in the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers, you can file a complaint online with the Tax Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility at

Tax return preparers must also:

Tax Department investigators conduct compliance checks during the personal income tax filing season to ensure that tax preparers are following the requirements. Tax preparers who fail to do so will be subject to fines and potential suspension of their tax preparer registration. 

Verify your tax return preparer’s credentials

Certain tax return preparers must register annually with the Tax Department and post copies of their current Registration Certificate.

To confirm your tax return preparer’s credentials, see Verify your tax return preparer or facilitator.