TAXES: The War on Refund Mills

In my own case the words of such an act as the Income Tax, for example, merely dance before my eyes in a meaningless procession; cross-reference to cross-reference, exception upon exception—couched in abstract terms that offer no handle to seize hold of.

—Judge Learned Hand in 1947

SINCE then, the tax laws have become still more complex, driving more Americans every spring to seek help in filling out their returns. The trend has led to a rapid proliferation of commercial tax specialists, including many "refund mills" that pop up like crocuses in March, make...

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