(CHICAGO) Nearly two-thirds of tax preparation businesses visited by city investigators were not in compliance with city ordinances, a recent investigation found.
The undercover operation by the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection investigated 409 tax preparers, targeting predatory businesses that dip into taxpayers’ refunds with misleading fine print, according to a statement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.
Of those, four businesses received cease-and-desist orders; 13 others were ordered to correct their limited business licenses; and 147 others will have to appear at administrative hearings, where fines range from $50 to $10,000, officials said.
The businesses were cited for operating without a license, failure to provide a consumer bill of rights, operating illegally or without state approval and failure to provide written discolsure, officials said.
The city could pocket between $94,000 and $340,000 if the fines are approved, according to the statement.
Residents who thinks they might have been bilked by a tax preparer can notify the city’s consumer protection department by calling 311 or visiting taxprepchicago.org.
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