Legislative / Regulatory

H&R Block shows up again!

Tax - 1040 H&R Block has started off with bills in the House & Senate to water down the basic examination requirements for the Maryland registration of Tax Preparers, again.

HB 873 & SB 555 would change the entry level examination requirements from an independent, national federal or state regulatory authority (regulator) to add the ability for an exam on tax preparation allowed by the Maryland Department of Higher Education.

Sounds reasonable, right?

Until you realize that the Maryland Department of Higher Education approved Block as a vocational career school. The MHEC does not perform oversight of their curriculum, does not evaluate the contents of their tax program, and does not perform ongoing review for the quality or content of their program that the law envisioned.

Even worse, this proposal would put Block in charge of creating the test, offering the test, and grading the test. Isn't that the fox guarding the hen house?

The whole purpose of putting in the language in the original bill to require an independent federal or state authority was to prevent "self-certification schemes" like the one being proposed.

We had to fight this last year and successfully defeated it in the House (HB 24) in Committee. We will need to fight this to prevent the watering down of the basic tax preparer registration requirements.

Stay tuned, we may need some help writing our legislators on this one.

Prior posts about Block:

Truth Prevails:H&R Block to stop running offending ads

Can Somebody making $7 an Hour Really Beat a CPA?

Here is H&R Block's listing on the MDHE site