2007 Regular Session
To: Banking and Financial Services
By: Representative Guice
AN ACT TO PROHIBIT TAX PREPARERS FROM CHARGING OR ACCEPTING A FEE THAT EXCEEDS A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OR AMOUNT FOR MAKING OR FACILITATING A REFUND ANTICIPATION LOAN TO A CLIENT; TO PROVIDE THAT IF A TAX PREPARER CHARGES OR ACCEPTS A FEE THAT EXCEEDS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT ALLOWED, THE TAX PREPARER SHALL FORFEIT THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE FEE, AND THE CLIENT MAY RECOVER THE AMOUNT OF THE FEE BY LEGAL ACTION; TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE TAX COMMISSION TO IMPOSE ON A TAX PREPARER AN ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY FOR EACH VIOLATION OF THIS ACT; TO REQUIRE THE COMMISSION TO REFER COMPLAINTS ABOUT TAX PREPARERS WHO ARE ALLEGED TO HAVE VIOLATED THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT TO THE STATE BOARD OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY OR THE MISSISSIPPI BAR, IF THE TAX PREPARER IS UNDER THEIR JURISDICTION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings as provided in this subsection:
(a) "Client" means an individual for whom a tax preparer performs or agrees to perform tax preparation services.
(b) "Refund anticipation loan" means a loan, whether provided by the tax preparer or another entity such as a financial institution, in anticipation of, and whose payment is secured by, a client's federal or state income tax refund, or both.
(c) "Tax preparation services" means services provided for a fee or other consideration to a client to:
(i) Assist with preparing or filing federal or state individual income tax returns;
(ii) Assume final responsibility for completed work on an individual income tax return on which preliminary work has been done by another; or
(iii) Offer or facilitate the provision of refund anticipation loans.
(d) "Tax preparer" or "preparer" means a person who provides tax preparation services.
(2) No tax preparer shall charge or accept a fee for making or facilitating a refund anticipation loan to a client that exceeds five percent (5%) of the amount of the anticipated income tax refund or Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00), whichever is less.
(3) If a tax preparer charges or accepts a fee that exceeds the maximum amount allowed under subsection (2) of this section, the tax preparer shall forfeit the full amount of the fee, and the client may recover the amount of the fee by legal action, if necessary.
(4) The State Tax Commission may impose on a tax preparer an administrative penalty of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) for each violation of this section. The commission may terminate a tax preparer's authority to transmit returns electronically to the state, if the commissioner determines the tax preparer engaged in a pattern and practice of violating this section.
(5) The State Tax Commission shall refer complaints about tax preparers who are alleged to have violated the provisions of this section to:
(a) The State Board of Public Accountancy, if the tax preparer is under its jurisdiction; and
(b) The Mississippi Bar, if the tax preparer is under its jurisdiction.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.