You may be eligible to file your federal and state taxes for free online or with help at an NYC Tax Prep site. Learn more on the Tax Preparation page.

If you are going to hire someone to prepare your taxes, make sure to know your rights and beware of refund services or loans that will cost you money.

Businesses and individuals must give you a free, current, and readable copy of the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers before they begin discussing tax preparation.

Tax preparers must also:

  • Post required signage, including Identification and Qualification sign, Fee Schedule (how they calculate fees), Disclosures, and Consumer Bill of Rights
  • Sign every tax return
  • Give you a copy of your tax return
  • Give you an itemized receipt
  • Return all personal papers to you
  • Tell you if they will represent you if you get audited by the government

Tax preparers cannot:

  • Reveal any details of the return to any unauthorized person
  • Alter a tax return after you signed it


Get tips for hiring a tax preparer.

Get the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers.

By Mail

You can get a guide that explains your rights when you hire a tax preparer. The guide includes the Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers.

Call 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) to request a copy.

If you use a paid preparer, be sure to ask about electronic filing, direct deposit, and other options to speed up payment of refunds. If you use direct deposit, you can receive your federal tax refund in 8 to 14 business days. Avoid using Refund Anticipation Checks (RAC), or Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL).

Refund Anticipation Check (RAC)

A Refund Anticipation Check (RAC), or Refund Transfer, is a high-priced way to delay payment of tax preparation fees. A RAC will not speed up your refund.

Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL)

A Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) is a high-interest loan that you must pay back to the bank. It is not an "instant refund."

It’s illegal for a tax preparer to disguise an RAL as an "instant refund," a "rapid refund," an "express refund," "fast cash," "preFund," or by any other similar term that hides the fact that an RAL is a loan.

Using an RAL will cost you money and lower the total amount of the refund that you receive. While the tax preparer who offers the loan can’t add charges or fees for preparing your RAL application, the bank making the loan can charge fees and interest.

You can get more information about RALs in the Tax Preparation Service Guide.

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