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IRS requirements for competency testing and continuing education

On Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia enjoined the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the regulatory requirements for registered tax return preparers. In accordance with this order, tax return preparers covered by this program are not required to complete competency testing or secure continuing education. The ruling does not affect the regulatory practice requirements for CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents or enrolled actuaries.

On Friday, Feb. 1, the court modified its order to clarify that the order does not affect the requirement for all paid tax return preparers to obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). Consistent with this modification, the IRS has reopened the online PTIN system.

Please know that each individual CPA of our firm maintains a PTIN number and participates in annual continued professional education on tax matters in excess of the requirements for both CPA licensing and the regulatory requirements established by the IRS in its tax return registration program.  In addition, the other non-certified professional accountants of our firm are supervised by our CPAs under the quality control system of the firm, are also registered in the IRS PTIN system and also participate in ongoing continuing professional education as necessary to maintain their proficiency in tax matters.

The IRS has announced that it continues to have confidence in the scope of its authority to administer this program and is working with the Department of Justice to address all options, including a planned appeal.  This may provide the public with mixed messages regarding the adequacy of the qualifications of tax preparers.  Please know that regardless of the outcome of the planned IRS appeal, our firm will: (i) continue to provide quality tax education to all of its professional staff, as required not only for firm and individual CPA licensing but for maintaining the expertise of the firm to provide capable tax services to our clients, (ii) continue to enforce an internal quality control practice monitored by the CPAs of the firm, (iii) continue to maintain registration within the IRS PTIN system, and (iv) comply with whatever ongoing requirements exist within the IRS PTIN system, including modifications determined to be applicable by the courts.

 

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