In Loving v. IRS, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that the IRS lacks the authority to enforce the Registered Tax Return Preparer Program. The Regulations would have required paid preparers, who are not attorneys, CPAs or EAs, to pass an exam and take continuing education classes. The IRS has not appealed the case.
The IRS has recently established a new Annual Filing Season Program, which is a voluntary program to encourage unenrolled preparers to participate in continuing education courses. About 60% of preparers operate without any type of oversight or education requirements. The benefits of the program include staying up-to-date on tax laws and changes, reducing the risk to taxpayers from unknowledgeable preparers, and allowing tax preparers to stand out from the competition.
Tax preparers will need to complete and pass the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course and complete continuing education requirements by December 31, prior to tax season. Preparers will then receive a Record of Completion and be included in a new public directory, along with CPAs, EAs, ERPAs and Enrolled Actuaries, on irs.gov by January 2015.
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