H&R Block Allegedly Behind Tax Bill That Would Harm Competitors

By Published on June 13, 2016

The online tax service H&R Block contributed thousands of dollars to two lawmakers pushing a bill that could put the company’s competitors out of business, according to information uncovered Sunday.

Republican Representatives Diane Black and Pat Meehan introduced a bill Dec. 1 designed to put costly regulatory burdens on tax accountants wanting to help others with their tax returns. The two lawmakers also received $3,500 from H&R Block before introducing their bill and even more afterwards, sources revealed to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“An estimated 80 million Americans turn to tax preparers to assist in filing their yearly returns,” Black said in a statement Dec. 1. “Today, however, there are no minimum standards to stipulate who can charge for these services. This lack of accountability puts Americans at unnecessary risk and contributes to rampant improper payments within the tax system.”

H&R Block also gave Black and Meehan an additional $11,000 immediately after they introduced their bill. The bill would require tax accountants to undergo costly examinations and classes on an annual basis and to submit to a background check. The bill has since received criticism for being disproportionately harmful to small tax accountants compared to those like H&R Block.

“Big companies like H&R Block can easily absorb the additional costs imposed by new regulations,” The Institute for Justice noted. “Independent tax preparers — who often work seasonally and part-time — may be pushed out of business by these additional expenses.”

The Internal Revenue Service tried to impose similar regulations back in 2012. H&R Block at the time hailed the proposed regulations because it meant less competitors that may not have high standards. The proposed regulations failed to survive a lawsuit but a bill like the one Black and Meehan is proposing would change that.

The bill has yet to be brought up for a vote. H&R Block, Black and Meehan did not respond to a request for comment by TheDCNF.


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Copyright 2016 Daily Caller News Foundation

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