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The United States Federal income tax code has an enormous potential to shape the economic and financial decisions of taxpaying households. Tax rates, compliance laws, and the withholding system create incentives, as do the methods by which the Treasury collects tax receipts and disburses tax refunds. The role of third party service providers in this incentive structure is less well understood, even though tax preparation firms play important roles in our tax system. Nationally, more than half of taxpayers use paid preparers to submit their tax returns. Low- and moderate-income (LMI) households are among those who use the paid tax preparation system. In fact, among those who file, more than two-thirds of low-income households use paid tax preparation services. Thus, understanding the role of third party providers in the tax system is critical to understanding how our tax system functions.