If you choose to offer Settlement Solutions in connection with tax compliance software licensed from Refunds Today, LLC and its affiliates (“Refunds Today”) then you must agree to and comply with the terms of this ERO Settlement Solutions Enrollment Agreement (this “Agreement”). This Agreement can be viewed at Refunds Today's web site (https://secure.refundstoday.com/legal) and from the Refunds Today Support Site. By enrolling with a Settlement Solutions Provider and offering Settlement Solutions in connection with Refunds Today compliance software Customer certifies agreement to all terms set forth below.
1. DEFINITIONS. Capitalized terms used but not defined elsewhere in this Agreement shall have the meanings set forth below:
1.1. “Customer” means the person or entity identified as the customer on Software License Agreement Terms and Conditions and/or any applicable Order Confirmation(s) and all affiliates, agents and related parties of such customer. If Customer is an entity, the person enrolling Customer represents that he or she is authorized to accept agreements on behalf of Customer.
1.2. “Enrollment Notification” means the electronic record that is created by Customer to communicate Customer's enrollment information (including, the contact information for Customer's company, company owner information and EFIN owner information) and Customer's intent to enroll with the Provider.
1.3. “Provider” means a third-party financial services institution or a third-party service provider authorized by Refunds Today to provide tax refund settlement and disbursement products in connection with Refunds Today's tax compliance software.
1.4. “Refunds Today Support Site” means the back-office Refunds Today utility application that is made available to Offices for use in the management of office.
1.5. “Settlement Solutions” means all products and services that involve the settlement of a tax-related funds, including, Refund Transfer Products, deposit products, credit products (e.g., refund anticipation loans, advance products) that anticipate (even if they do not necessarily require) loan repayment from future tax refund proceeds, Flat Fee Program, PS Solution Package and FeeCollect.
1.5.1. “Refund Transfer Product” means a type of Settlement Solution that includes all products commonly referred to as refund transfers (RT), refund anticipation checks (RAC), electronic refund checks (ERC), deduct fee from refund (DFFR), debit card deposits, or refund electronic transfers (RET)).
1.5.2. “FeeCollect™” means a branded service for the collection of an ERO's tax return preparation fee; such service may also include tax refund settlement services.
1.6. “Settlement Solution Fee Agreement” means the application that is generated at the time that the taxpayer selects a Settlement Solution and which must be completed by the ERO and taxpayer and submitted to the Provider in order to obtain a Settlement Solution.
The use of the word “including” means “including without limitation.”
2. ENROLLMENT AND PROVIDERS
2.1. PROVIDER ENROLLMENT
2.1.1. Provider Agreements. Customer is required to enter into a binding agreement with its selected Provider. Each Provider has applicable policies and procedures that Customer must follow. Customer will need to communicate with the Provider to obtain the applicable guidelines for completing Settlement Solution Applications and other applicable legal forms.
2.1.2. Provider Selection. Customer acknowledges that it has had an opportunity to research and review the marketing materials and offerings of the various Providers and has chosen a Provider in its sole discretion based on such research and review. Further, Customer warrants that it has not relied on any information or otherwise from Refunds Today is selecting a Provider.
2.2. ENROLLMENT WITH REFUNDS TODAY AND PROVIDER SELECTION
2.2.1. Enrollment. If Customer chooses to offer Settlement Solutions he may initiate enrollment with a Provider by creating and submitting an Enrollment Notification from the Refunds Today Office Information Request site. The Provider will contact Customer directly to finalize enrollment with the Provider. Customer must also verify the Refunds Today fees, transmitter fees (Universal Tax Systems, Inc. d/b/a CCH Small Firm Services (“CCH SFS”)), check printing method and check print EFIN associated with Customer's office(s) prior to the start of the tax season via the Refunds Today Support Site
2.2.2. Provider Selection. Customer may only have one active Provider at a time.
3. GUIDELINES AND REQUIREMENTS
3.1. General Best Practices. The following practices, together with more particular guidelines provided by the Provider, must be strictly adhered to:
3.1.1. Ensure that Settlement Solution Fee Agreements and applications are filled out completely and precisely to the best of Customer's knowledge.
3.1.2. Encourage taxpayers to ask any questions he or she may have before applying for a Settlement Solution or paying any fees.
3.1.3. Obtain and verify the identification required by the Settlement Solution Application.
3.1.4. Keep a photocopy of the taxpayer identification with Customer's office copy of the Settlement Solution Application.
3.1.5. Validate the social security number and name against the social security card.
3.1.6. Take responsibility and have strict control of check stock and debit cards.
3.1.7. Follow the IRS rules for electronic filing as specified in Publication 1345 (Handbook for Electronic Filers).
3.1.8. To the extent required, provide necessary “facilitator” disclosures and register as a “facilitator.”
3.1.9. Provide the Settlement Solution disclosures provided by Refunds Today or CCH SFS. Present Settlement Solution-related fees in a clear and conspicuous manner to the taxpayer, so taxpayers are able to make a fully informed decision.
3.2. Representations and Warranties. Customer represents and warrants that:
3.2.1. Customer shall not engage in any unfair, deceptive, abusive or otherwise unacceptable acts or practices in connection with offering or promoting any Settlement Solutions.
3.2.2. Customer has never been subject to federal, state or regulatory enforcement proceedings, including enforcement actions, criminal or civil legal proceedings or cease and desist orders, relating to Settlement Solutions.
3.3.1. 7216 Consent Forms. Customer is responsible for obtaining the taxpayer's written consent, as required under IRS Code Section 7216, prior to using and/or disclosing the taxpayer's personal information for purposes of issuing Settlement Solutions. The Refunds Today software provides 7216 consent forms for this purpose.
3.3.2. Fee Notices. Customer must provide taxpayers with a statement of the inclusive price of the Settlement Solution (including all fees incurred to receive the Settlement Solution and any credits payable to the Customer), and a separate statement of the fees related to tax preparation and/or other services.
3.3.3. Recordkeeping. Customer may be asked at any time by the Provider or Refunds Today to produce all documentation for any particular Settlement Solution(s) that Customer has issued. If such documentation cannot be delivered within 48 hours of the request, Settlement Solution privileges may be suspended until the documentation is produced.
3.3.4. Facilitator Disclosures. Certain states require “facilitators” of Settlement Solutions to provide certain disclosures and register with the state as a “facilitator.” Any Customer offering Settlement Solutions in such states must strictly comply with all facilitator-related requirements. For example, depending on a Customer's location, a Customer may be required to provide taxpayers, in a clear and conspicuous manner, one or more of the following types of disclosures: oral statements, written disclosures and/or posted information.
3.4. Advertising and Posted Notices.
3.4.1. Advertisements. If Customer creates any advertising for Settlement Solutions, Customer must ensure that i) Customer's materials state that the Settlement Solution is a price-based product, and ii) the materials otherwise comply with applicable federal and state law and regulations.
3.4.2. Posted Notices. Certain states require the posting of specifically worded notices at offices that offer Settlement Solutions. Customer must review and comply with the advertising and notice laws applicable to Customer's location(s).
3.5. Check Printing.
3.5.1. Customer is accountable for all check stock assigned to Customer's office. This includes issued, voided, or unused checks. Customer is also responsible for following the Provider guidelines for any voided or unused checks.
3.5.2. Check printing activity is carefully monitored. If there are an excessive number of voids, reprints, or check number mismatches, Refunds Today or the Provider reserves the right to suspend check-printing privileges. Refunds Today will help Customer identify and correct check-printing problems. However, reinstatement of check printing privileges is at the sole discretion of Refunds Today or the Provider. Customer will bear all check printing and delivery charges as specified by the Provider or Refunds Today.
3.5.3. Customer must keep photocopies of all printed checks.
3.5.4. Customer must verify that the information printed on the check matches the taxpayer's tax return and Settlement Solution Application. Customer is also responsible for ensuring that printed checks do not duplicate any previously printed checks. If Customer releases a check with an incorrect refund amount, or a duplicate check to a taxpayer, Customer will be held financially responsible for any difference in the amount of the check(s) and the actual total refund.
3.6. Error Reporting. In the event that a Settlement Solution or associated information has been improperly issued, Customer must notify Refunds Today within 72 hours of such information becoming available to Customer. Refunds Today waives none of its rights, contractual or otherwise, related to such Settlement Solution or associated information.
3.7. Applicable Law. In addition to the practices set forth in this Section 3, Customer is responsible for understanding and complying with all federal, state and local laws and regulations regarding the offering of Settlement Solutions, including, but not limited to regulations involving the charging and disclosure of fees, fee notification and consumer protection regulations.
4.1. Prohibited Contract Clauses. Customer is prohibited from including any of the following types of legal clauses in any agreement between Customer and a taxpayer in connection with the sale of a Settlement Solution:
4.1.1. A hold harmless clause to protect Customer's company;
4.1.2. A confession of judgment clause to protect Customer's company;
4.1.3. An assignment of or order for payment of wages or other compensation for services to protect Customer's company;
4.1.4. A waiver of the statute of limitations;
4.1.5. A provision in which the taxpayer agrees not to assert any claim or defense arising out of the applicable agreement; and
4.1.6. A waiver of any provision of applicable legislation.
4.2. Referring Taxpayers to Refunds Today. Customer must not instruct individual taxpayers to contact Refunds Today regarding the status of their return or Settlement Solution.
4.3. Non-authorized Providers. Customer is prohibited from offering Settlement Solutions or any similar products from any financial institutions not currently working with Refunds Today. Unauthorized financial institutions are not integrated into the Refunds Today software and therefore returns generated by the software will not properly designate the return as having a Settlement Solution as required by IRS regulations.
4.4. Restricted Fees.
4.4.1. Customer may not impose higher fees for tax preparation based on whether or not a taxpayer chooses a Settlement Solution.
4.4.2. As proscribed by law, Customers in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland and New York must not create or charge any additional fees (including requesting an increase in the standard Transmission Fee) to the taxpayer for the issuance of a Settlement Solution.
5. FEES AND CREDITS
5.1. Refunds Today and Transmitter Fees. Certain fees apply in connection with the issuance of Settlement Solutions. Customer will authorize and direct the Provider to deduct and transmit certain Refunds Today fees and certain transmitter (CCH SFS) fees to Refunds Today via ACH on a per return basis. The charging and collecting of fees is subject to applicable state and federal laws and regulations. Refunds Today reserves the right to lock or amend (including eliminate) fees for certain states as it deems necessary. The following are the possible fees that could be charged (not all fees will apply in every situation):
5.1.1. Tax Preparation Fee: This is the fee charged by the ERO for preparing the tax return, including any electronic filing fee. This fee is set by the ERO and will be taken out of the taxpayer's refund. The Provider will deposit this fee into the bank account specified by Customer.
5.1.2. Bank Fee: This is the fee charged by the Provider for the Settlement Solution. This fee will be taken out of the taxpayer's refund.
5.1.3. Transmission Fee: This is a variable fee that is set by the Customer and charged by the transmitter (CCH SFS) for each approved federal Settlement Solution Application transmitted through the Refunds Today software. This fee will be taken out of the taxpayer's refund and will be sent to CCH SFS. Note, CCH SFS is the parent company of Refunds Today. The default Transmission Fee is $10.00. A portion of the Transmission Fee may be paid to the Customer in the form of a credit (please see Section 5.4). The amount of the Transmission Fee and the portion payable to the Customer is set forth on the Refunds Today support site.
5.1.4. Technology Fee: This is the flat $17.00 fee charged by the transmitter (CCH SFS) for enabling the Settlement Solutions offered by certain Providers, including the cost of programming specific bank software and communication protocols, as well as mandated testing of the security of the process. This fee will be taken out of the taxpayer's refund and will be sent to CCH SFS.
5.1.5. Service Bureau Fee: This is the fee charged and set by Refunds Today. This fee will be taken out of the taxpayer's refund and will be sent to Refunds Today.
5.1.6. PS Solution Package Fee: This is the flat fee charged by Refunds Today to Customer for each federal return (per each unique SSN/TIN) e-filed through a “PS Solution Package.” See Section 5.2 for more details.
5.1.7. Protection Plus Fee (if applicable): This is the fee paid by the taxpayer for the optional Protection Plus Audit Assistance. This fee will be taken out of the taxpayer's refund and will be sent to Refunds Today.
5.2. PS Solution Package Fee.
5.2.1. While available to all Customers, Customers with offices in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland and/or New York who wish to offer Settlement Solutions at those locations must use the PS Solution Package or the Flat Fee Program (as set forth in Section 5.3). For each federal return (per unique SSN/TIN) e-filed through a PS Solution Package, Refunds Today will collect the PS Solution Fee from Customer. THE PS SOLUTION PACKAGE FEE IS DUE REGARDLESS OF WHETHER A FEECOLLECT PRODUCT IS USED IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH SSN/TIN.
5.2.2. Collection Method for PS Solutions Fee. When a return is e-filed with a FeeCollect product, the PS Solution Fee will be deducted by the Provider directly from the ERO's tax preparation fee that is collected during the settlement process. For returns without a FeeCollect product, Refunds Today will collect the Solution Fee directly from Customer in one of two ways: 1) first, if credits have been earned by Customer, then Refunds Today will deduct the PS Solution Fee from Customer's credits that are on account with Refunds Today; 2) if the first method of collection is not available or insufficient, then Refunds Today will conduct an ACH direct debit from Customer's bank account or charge the credit card on file. Fees will be collected weekly during the tax season and then on a monthly basis starting with the month of May.
5.2.3. Fees to Taxpayers. The PS Solution Fee is explicitly charged to Customer (ERO) and not to the taxpayer. Customer must not charge the PS Solutions Fee to taxpayers, either directly or by indirectly creating a new fee that includes the PS Solutions Fee. Further, Customer may not impose higher fees for tax preparation as a result of the flat PS Solution Fee or based on whether or not a taxpayer chooses a Settlement Solution.
5.3. Flat Fee Program. While available to all Customers, Customers with offices in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland and/or New York who wish to offer Settlement Solutions at those locations must use the Flat Fee Program or the PS Solution Package (as set forth in Section 5.2). THE FLAT FEE PROGRAM IS A SETTLEMENT SOLUTION WHEREBY TAXPAYERS ARE NOT CHARGED ANY FEES, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, FOR A SETTLEMENT SOLUTION OTHER THAN THE FLAT, FIXED BANK FEE CHARGED BY AN AUTHORIZED PROVIDER. Customer shall not charge any fees, either directly or indirectly, to taxpayers (other than the Tax Preparation Fee) in connection with the Flat Fee Program. Further, Customer may not impose higher fees for tax preparation as a result of the Flat Fee Program. In addition, Customer shall not request or receive any credits from either Refunds Today or a Provider in connection with a Settlement Solution offered under the Flat Fee Program.
5.4 Credits. Customer may be able to earn credits on account for issuing certain Refund Transfer Products. Refunds Today will provide a pay out of any credit on account earned by Customer from Refund Transfer Products upon Customer's request, provided that (i) Customer's credit on account exceeds any balance due on its account and (ii) a payment request is received by Refunds Today at least fifteen (15) business days prior to the requested payment date.
6.1. Refunds Today, in cooperation with the Provider, reserves the right to terminate Settlement Solution privileges at any time that there is evidence of fraud or misuse or breach of the terms provided herein.
6.2. Providers may terminate Customer's privileges at any time if Customer does not follow the Provider procedures. If Customer's privileges are terminated by a Provider, Customer may not be reinstated by another Provider.
7.1. Customer warrants that all information provided on Customer's Enrollment Application is true, correct and complete. Customers acknowledged that the Provider will check the firm's banking history (including with any previous Provider, trade, and credit references, as well as any personal credit history).
7.2. Customer acknowledges and agrees that Refunds Today shall have the right in its sole discretion to amend fees and/or credits or discontinue a Provider as the result of or in reaction to regulatory or other changes in the industry or due to changes in Refunds Today's contractual relationships with a Provider.