Posted by : Daniel Stoica in (Articles, Federal Income Tax, Federal Taxes, Tax Preparation, Tax Preparers, Tax Return, Tax Topic) On: November 23rd, 2011
The IRS is launching a new Registered Tax Return Preparer competency test in an effort to improve the tax preparation industry. Oversight of the tax preparation industry is a major initiative of the IRS, and this competency test is part of that initiative. As of 2010, all paid tax return preparers are required to obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), and now all preparers who have a valid PTIN will have until 12/31/2013 to pass the competency test.
Once a preparer passes the test and meets other requirements, he or she will be designated as a Registered Tax Return Preparer. Like other designations, the Registered Preparers will be required to maintain their status by renewing their PTINs annually as well as completing 15 hours of continuing education every year. Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents will be exempt from these new requirements because they must already meet more rigorous guidelines in order to obtain their professional credentials.
There will be a fee for the competency test: $116. This fee includes an IRS fee as well as a fee for Prometric Inc., which is a third-party test vendor. The test covers preparation of Form 1040 and related schedules. Test scheduling will begin the week of November 28, 2011.
Prometric will eventually administer the test at more than 260 centers nationally, but the test is not available at all locations currently. Test sites will be added daily and international locations may be added in the future.
The IRS estimates that approximately 350,000 people may be initially subject to the Registered Tax Return Preparer test requirement.
Fact Sheet 2011-12 provides additional details about the test, including which preparers are required to take it and how to schedule an appointment.