Consumer Rights Information

I am a taxpayer. What should I know about the Albuquerque Tax Preparers and Consumer Rights Ordinance?

Knowledge is power. The documents included here will help Albuquerque residents be smart consumers in what can be a confusing tax preparation marketplace. Inform yourself so that you can best protect your family's money.

Under the Ordinance, when you pay a tax preparer to do your taxes, you are a consumer with rights. The Albuquerque Tax Preparers and Consumer Rights Ordinance protects tax payers by requiring tax preparers doing business in Albuquerque to provide you with the information you need to make informed choices about which tax preparer to use, how you want to receive your refund, and how to protect yourself against deceptive or unfair practices. Selecting a tax preparer is an important financial decision especially since you entrust the tax preparer with sensitive financial and personal information.

Free Tax Resources

  • You may be able to prepare and file your own taxes for free if your income is $72,000 and below via IRS Free File.
  • You can also prepare and file your own New Mexico taxes with the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department (NMTRD).
  • Tax Help New Mexicois a nonprofit collaboration between the United Way of Central New Mexico. The organization offers free tax preparation to low and middle-income taxpayers. Check their website to see whether you qualify.
  • The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Programalso provides free tax preparation to those age 50 and older with low to moderate income.

If You Use a Paid Tax Preparer

  • The tax preparer must provide you with a copy of the Albuquerque Consumer Bill of Rightsfor Paid Personal Income Tax Preparation Services in English or Spanish.
  • The tax preparer is required to provide both their IRS PTIN and New Mexico CRS numbers as part of their disclosures. The IRS requires all paid tax preparers to have a PTIN, to sign any federal income tax return prepared by them, and to include their PTIN on the federal income tax return.
  • The tax preparer must post the name(s) of the owner(s) of their business, unless the business is organized as a corporation.

Selecting a Tax Preparer

  • The tax preparer must tell you about their qualifications, including their education, tax experience.
  • The tax preparer must provide you with a list of their fees, including fees for particular forms, hourly fees, and any miscellaneous fees.
  • The tax preparer must offer written disclosures in English and Spanish. If the consumer speaks another language, the consumer must be allowed time to locate a translator, if desired.
  • The tax preparer must provide you with an cost estimate before entering into a contract to prepare your taxes.
  • If you are considering the purchase of a refund anticipation loan (RAL), refund anticipation check (RAC), or any other refund settlement product (RSP), the estimate must include a estimates of your refund due directly from the government(s) and the dollar and percentage amounts of that refund that will remain after all tax preparer fees. Tax preparers cannot make you purchase any RSP as a prerequisite to their tax preparation service.
  • If you do agree to utilize a refund anticipation loan, the tax preparer must provide you with a statement. The tax preparer must also provide several federal and state-required disclosures that include the percentage rate, finance charge, and other loan disclosures.

Prior to Filing Your Tax Return

  • The tax preparer must provide you with the opportunity to review the final drafts of your tax returns prior to filing.
  • The tax preparer must sign the returns they have prepared for you. DO NOT sign returns as the preparer that you have not prepared for yourself. Tax preparers should never ask you to do so.
  • DO NOT sign an incomplete return. The Ordinance prohibits tax preparers from asking you to do so.
  • You have the right to receive your refund(s) via check from the IRS and state or to have your refund(s) directly deposited into your existing bank account.
  • Note that some tax preparers may offer to set up a temporary bank account under your name or have your refund(s) first deposited into their bank accounts to collect payment for their tax preparation services. The Ordinance gives you the right to choose whether you want to do this. There usually is a fee to set up a temporary bank account for this purpose.

After Filing Your Return

  • You have a right to receive a copy of all tax returns without an additional fee.
  • The tax preparer must provide you with a written Final Accounting that includes:
    • An itemized accounting of all services and fees charged;
    • An explanation of any fees or costs in excess of the original estimate;
    • The percentage of the consumer's refund total that is due to the tax preparer, as well as the dollar amount; and
    • The tax preparer's year-round address and phone number.
  • The tax preparer must provide you with a copy of the final tax return(s) and any permanent schedules and worksheets they prepared.
  • The tax preparer must return any personal papers you have provided to them.

Note: The City interprets the Ordinance to allow for the tax preparer to first require payment from the consumer for services performed. 

More Information:

Tax Disputes with the IRS or NMTRD