Taxpayers with Visual Impairment File Suit for Inaccessible Website
As the nation’s April 15th tax deadline approaches, taxpayers everywhere are scrambling to file their taxes online. Meeting that yearly deadline is even more difficult for taxpayers with disabilities who struggle with inaccessible websites. Two taxpayers with a visual impairment recently filed suit against H&R Block, one of the leading providers of tax services in the United States.
The complaint, filed by Mika Pyyhkala and Lindsay Yazzolino in US District Court, alleges that H&R Block’s inaccessible website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the Massachusetts Equal Rights Act (MERA). The plaintiffs, who rely on assistive technology such as screen readers to access websites were unable to file their 2012 taxes with H&R Block because the site was incompatible with such technology.
As more and more essential services are provided online, web accessibility becomes increasingly important so that all people have equal access regardless of disability. Recent accessibility lawsuits against banks have resulted in large settlements and increased awareness of this issue. This is the first known lawsuit against tax preparation services and is an important reminder that all corporations must take care to ensure their online services are usable to all consumers.
For more information about the lawsuit, please see the following press release: