Saturday, January 23, 2010

make it difficult to file taxes and then restrict the supply of tax preparers...nice!

I've often used the prospects of hypothetical labor market regulations-- to squelch competition-- in the market for tax preparers. It looks like it's coming true!

From the editorialists of the WSJ...

We're guessing that when Americans think of outlaw industries, tax preparers aren't the first rogues that come to mind. But lo, the nation's green eyeshades are now destined to come under the regulatory rule of the Internal Revenue Service as part of the Obama Administration's latest revenue grab.

Under the plan, which would begin with the 2011 tax season, anyone who takes money to help people with their taxes will have to register with the IRS, and eventually pass competency tests and sign up for continuing education. So having made tax filing so complicated that most Americans need help with their forms, Washington now wants to raise the price of such counsel by regulating advisers in a way that may reduce their supply...

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....With fewer tax preparers in the market, H&R Block will find it easier to raise prices....


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