In some cases, small business owners got a “no” from their tax preparer but a “yes” from a promoter. Those taxpayers are now coming to firms such as Baker Tilly or alliantgroup with buyers’ remorse, dubious about their own claims.

“The heartbreaking thing here is it’s going to put people out of business,” Creech said because they will, at a minimum, have to repay the credit and are out whatever contingency fee they paid to the ERC company. “And there’s people that are going to lose their jobs because the credit mills were too aggressive.”

Everson said alliantgroup screened out some small businesses, “and then someone else got in touch, and they filed a claim. And they come back to us and say, ‘You guys didn’t help us the way the other guy did.’ Sometimes they regret that later.”

Klitzner lays the blame for ERC fraud almost solely on the mills, saying he does not think most small business owners intended to commit fraud.

“They really believe that if there’s a company that tells them they can get it and fills out the forms and the IRS gives them the money, that it must be legit. I don’t think these taxpayers think they’re pulling a fast one,” he said.