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IRS Launches Voluntary Tax Preparer Program

Posted on in Taxation Law

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that it will launch a new quality certification program for tax preparers.

The agency recently released new procedures that clearly describe details about the new education program. The Annual Filing Season Program, as it is called, is already a controversial one. The launch of the program came soon after the agency lost several court decisions, over its authority to impose mandated tax preparation programs.

For instance, the American Institute of CPAs has been in the forefront of criticizing the federal agency's plans for launching a tax preparer certification. The American Institute of CPAs says that such a program could even be unlawful. Several other groups have also raised their own objections to the program.

As part of the plan, while there will be no such formal certification exam like the one that exists for the now-invalidated Registered Tax Return Preparer or RTRP program, preparers would be required to take an annual refresher course. The program would be administered by a continuing education provider approved by the Internal Revenue Service. The refresher course would be designed according to the guidelines provided by the IRS, and would have to last for six hours. The program would also include a test of the course material. This would involve include a minimum of 100 questions, and applicants who complete the refresher course successfully would be required to provide right answers to at least 70% of the questions. Those who complete all formalities would receive a Record of Completion by the Federal Agency.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the new Annual Filing Season Program will help encourage tax return preparers who are not CPAs, or lawyers, and help them complete their continuing education courses.

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