ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque has passed a law protecting people from predatory lending practices during tax season. Mayor Tim Keller signed the Tax Preparers and Consumer Rights Ordinance Tuesday. The law passed on an 8-0 vote Monday. The ordinance targets tax preparers who market loans as a way to get your tax refund faster, then charge high fees and interest rates in exchange much like a Payday loan.
“This ordinance will protect Albuquerque families, especially when it comes to refund anticipation loans—basically payday lending meets tax season,” said Mayor Keller in a news release. “Many Albuquerque families depend on their tax refunds to make ends meet and will now have more information upfront so they can make informed decisions. We look forward to working with the industry to support this new measure.”
“This ordinance is another example of the City of Albuquerque doing what we can to help people keep more of their hard-earned money,” said Councilor Pat Davis in the same news release, who sponsored the ordinance. “As tax season starts, the time is right for us to work with Mayor Keller’s administration, to step up to look out for consumers receiving services from paid tax preparers.”
According to a news release, the city’s newly adopted ordinance requires tax preparers to provide upfront disclosures and information to the consumer. Tax preparers must:
- Share information about their experience and educational qualifications;
- List and describe the fees they charge for each tax preparation service;
- Provide consumers with a written estimate of the total cost before entering into a written agreement; and, require tax preparers to provide a copy of the Albuquerque Consumer Bill of Rights for Paid Personal Income Tax Preparation Services before agreeing to the tax services.
The city says it will soon publish disclosure forms on-line to assist tax preparers with compliance, have a Q&A for Tax Preparers available, and answer questions; A Consumer Bill of Rights document in English and Spanish will also be published.