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3. Occupational Licensing Abuse
Speaking of your friendly neighborhood tax professionals, the IRS has found a new way to to harass them as well. Last year the agency introduced an arbitrary new set of occupational licensing requirements that force tax preparers to pay a host of new fees, pass a government exam, and sit still through 15 hours of classes every year. It's worth remembering that Congress already heavily regulates the tax preparing industry to prevent fraud and other crimes, but this is the first time tax preparers have been required to get the government’s permission before they could set up shop in the first place.
The Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, recently challenged the new rules in federal court. But in the meantime, independent operators and other small-scale entrepreneurs (and their customers) face the burden of sometimes crippling compliance costs. Their bigger, more established competitors, on the other hand, stand ready to reap the state-sanctioned benefits. As The Wall Street Journal reported, “Cheering the new regulations are big tax preparers like H&R Block, who are only too happy to see the feds swoop in to put their mom-and-pop seasonal competitors out of business.”