House of Representatives Uses Tax Day to Approve Taxpayer Protections
The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 1677, the Taxpayer Protection Act of 2007, on Tuesday, Tax Day. As we've explained before, the bill includes several provisions geared towards protecting taxpayers from fraud, identity theft, and predatory banks offering refund anticipation loans (RALs) which often come with interest rates around 90 percent. Interestingly, a provision preventing the IRS from handing over information about people's tax debt to such predatory banks was opposed vigorously by Jackson Hewitt, the tax preparation company, when the bill was in committee. In the past two weeks, the Department of Justice has been trying to shut down around 125 Jackson Hewitt offices in which the owners are accused of fostering an environment "in which fraudulent tax return preparation is encouraged and flourishes."