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New Requirements for Federal Tax Return Preparers

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The IRS has confirmed that the proposed New Requirements for Federal Tax Return Preparers will begin by the end of this year and will be enforced for the coming tax season in 2011. Tax Return Preparers will be required to register with the IRS by obtaining a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) which is unique to each Tax Preparer and will allow the IRS to track how many returns and which returns each individual tax preparer prepares each year.  Return preparers will be charged an undetermined fee to register a PTIN which will be used toward covering the cost of the registration program.  Tax Preparers who already have a PTIN will be forced to refresh or re-register them and those who do not have a PTIN will have to get one.  This is just the beginning phase of what ultimately will lead to Required Competency Exams and Continued Education.  The IRS has stated that all Paid Tax Preparers will be required to take at least 15 hours of continuing education and pass a competency exam by 2013 in order to continue preparing returns with the federal government.

We are happy to hear about these new requirements as we have always been greatly aware of the value of Education and Testing.  At R&G Brenner all Tax Consultants are required to pass a rigorous exam which includes a complex federal tax return that is done by hand and a section regarding NYS taxes as well prior to employment.  We also ensure that our preparers are up to date by requiring they attend our annual Tax Updates Seminar each year.  In addition to this we require our Tax Consultants to have a minimum of 2 years work experience in the field of tax preparation.  Professional tax preparer’s understand the need for education as tax laws change annually; in addition to our in house educational seminar the vast majority of our preparers also take seminars and training through other professional organizations.

This new regulation will truly professionalize the field of Tax Preparation by weeding out those tax preparers who do not have the proper training.  We see this as a step in the right direction and welcome the change as this may even help tax practices like ours grow by displaying the value of tax preparation assistance and the importance of having a professional on your side.

Source:  IRS Webinar