Throughout this year, the IRS has been working on a new initiative to increase it’s oversight of the tax preparation industry. It began with requiring that all for-profit tax preparers register with the IRS, and receive a Tax Preparer Identification Number, or TPIN. Those who pass a background check, a tax compliance check, 15 hours of continuing education, along with the newly instated competency test will earn the new designation of “Registered Tax Return Preparer.”
Specifications concerning the exam have very recently been posted, and can be seen at the IRS website. In essence, the article gives an overview of what materials will be covered within the test; the main categories include: Preliminary Work and Collection of Tax Payer Data, Treatment of Income and Assets, Deductions and Credits, Other Taxes, Completion of the Filing Process, Practices and Procedure, and last but not least, Ethics. It will consist of multiple choice questions based on all of the above topics. Also noteworthy, there is currently no limit on the number of times candidates are allowed to take the exam!
Good news for lawyers, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and Enrolled Agents (EAs), You are exempt from testing and continuing education because of the more stringent professional testing and education requirements you have already been subject to. Also exempt are supervised employees of lawyers, CPAs or EAs who prepare but do not sign.
What do you think about the fact that 62% of approximately 730,000 return preparers that have registered and received PTINs this year, but do not hold professional designations? Post your answers in the comments section below!