H&R Block releases consumer tax fraud study at Washington, D.C. event
Earlier today, H&R Block released the results of a national survey by The Tax Institute at H&R Block and ORC International measuring consumer awareness and attitudes on the issue of tax fraud and tax fraud prevention. H&R Block President and CEO William Cobb unveiled the key findings during his remarks at The Tax Policy Summit hosted by The Atlantic in Washington, D.C.
The event brought together key tax policy leaders to examine the impact of tax fraud and identify the small but significant steps that can be taken to combat fraud, preserve the integrity of the tax system, and better serve and protect consumers.
Washington has been full of discussions over proposed tax reforms recently – changes to brackets, credits, deductions and the like. But addressing the problem of improper payments arising from refundable tax credits, like the earned income tax credit (EITC) or American Opportunity Credit, is an issue that has been lost in the conversation. These improper payments – which include payments made due to fraud, confusion, and basic math errors – have cost more than $140 billion over the last 10 years.
Also absent has been the consumer voice, until now. The key findings from the survey include:
- Taxpayers are willing to do more to help combat tax fraud. A large majority are willing to take a variety of actions to prevent fraud, whether answering more specific questions in their IRS filings, waiting a little longer for a refund or requiring consistent questions for all filers.
- Consumers recognize that there is a joint responsibility. They agreed that it is incumbent on the IRS, Congress, professional tax preparers, the makers of DIY tax preparation software and taxpayers themselves to address fraudulent tax filings.
- Consumers support requiring professional tax preparers to meet minimum training standards. This reinforces the fact that consumers want to know the person they turn to for one of their biggest financial transactions of their year meets consistent and minimum standards for expertise.
- Taxpayers who use DIY software/websites are strongly supportive of requiring minimum standards for those software/websites and requiring consistency in forms and documentation across all tax preparation methods. Consumers indicated that creating this type of parity across all tax preparation platforms is important.
The full results of the survey are available at the link below.
Bill Cobb Remarks- The Atlantic Tax Policy Summit
The Tax Institute at H&R Block Reports Consumer Tax Fraud Sources, Solutions