The Registered Tax Return Preparer

In my last blog post, I discussed how risky I felt it was to e-file your tax return. Unfortunately, many people do so because paper returns can be daunting and they do not have the money to hire a CPA. However, I would say a good percentage of individual 1040 tax returns do not require a CPA to do them. However, I caution just hiring anyone. I have talked to too many clients who may never have needed my services, if they hadn't hired the wrong person. Thankfully, three years ago, the IRS started the Return Preparer Review initiative. This makes it possible to search for a registered tax return preparer, when it's time to file your tax return.

A registered tax preparer meets all of the following qualifications:
  1. Any paid return preparer should have a valid PTIN, which they renew annually.
  2. Unless the preparer is already a CPA or EA (which have their own testing requirements), the preparer must pass a 120-question competency test by December 31, 2013.
  3. The preparer must also complete 15 hours of IRS-approved continuing education courses every year. 3 of those hours go to tax law changes and 2 hours go to ethics.
  4. The preparer must now meet the ethical requirements that CPAs, EAs, and attorneys adhere to, including being compliant to the IRS.
By 2014, only registered tax return preparers will be able to charge for tax return preparation. Currently, the IRS is busy creating a database that taxpayers can use to search for registered tax return preparers in their zip code. Hopefully, it will soon be easier than ever to find someone trustworthy to handle your personal tax returns.

If having your tax returns prepared by the wrong person has landed you in hot mess with the IRS, give me a call at 888-415-1337 or fill out the submission form for a free consultation. We'll give you the honest answers you need, and set you on the road to resolution!