By Stephanie Kaye
When taxes come due this year, a new "Bill of Rights" will be in place to protect taxpayers in Maryland.
The list of rights includes everything from privacy to free tax prep. It also warns of "danger signs" to look for with private tax preparers, such as being asked to sign a blank return, or someone who claims to have an "in" with the IRS.
"If this happens to you please, don't walk out of that office--run, and call my office to report the tax preparer at 1-800-MD-TAXES," says Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot.
The state will begin a licensing system that will be in place next year.
"If you want to pay someone to cut your hair they need to have a license," says Eric Freedman, head of Montgomery County's Office of Consumer Protection. "But if you want to pay someone to cut your taxes by finding all the allowable deductions, they may not have any license."
Until then, officials advise using a county or state program, and warn against being taken in by offers that sound too good to be true.