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Make tax preparation a fair process

You have to have a license to sell real estate. You need a license to practice law and medicine. Licenses are even required to hunt and fish.

But those who prepare taxes in Alabama don’t need any legal qualification at all.

Sadly, this is a widespread thing. Alabama is one of 47 states that do not regulate tax preparers.

Several thousand dollars get clogged in the government pipeline every year because tax returns are prepared improperly — which essentially means they are prepared illegally.

It makes little sense to allow just anyone to figure how that money is dispensed.

Tax preparers can prey on the elderly, young people who are new to the process or those who do not wish to interpret tax laws on their own.

A bipartisan group in the Alabama Legislature will propose a bill to require testing and licensing of commercial tax preparers when the legislative session starts Tuesday.

The bill would not affect taxpayers who fill out their own tax returns.

We believe this legislation should pass unfailingly. Too many people stand much to lose without this means of protection.