Has Your Tax Preparer Passed IRS Test?

You take the help of tax preparers because you want to lighten your tax work. That is understandable. Who wants to ruin their weekend by shuffling through IRS forms? Your reluctance to fill up those tax return forms means employment for tax preparers. It’s all about money: money to be paid to the IRS and money to be received by you through refunds.

Don’t get ripped off

Most taxpayers want to get as much in refunds as they can legitimately claim, but some tax preparers file fraudulent tax returns to claim exaggerated refunds. This is a problem that some of you must have faced. And I know it hurts like hell.

When the issue of fraudulent tax returns filed by tax preparers reached the IRS, they began an initiative under which all tax preparers practicing in the U.S. would need a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Every tax preparer needs to include their PTIN number in every tax return they file. That is to help the IRS track the tax preparer in case they cheat their client and the IRS.

What the IRS is doing to protect you

The IRS is administering tests. The 340,000 tax preparers who are registered will need to take IRS tests to prove they are capable of doing their job well. Tax lawyers are exempt from these tests.

Even if your tax preparer is working for a tax preparation company, s/he will need to take this test. Any tax preparer working without certification can be fined by the IRS.

How it affects you

If your tax preparer is somebody who is close to retirement, you might discover that the person chooses to quit rather than to take the test. That is happening to a lot of tax preparers, young or old. Test anxiety is getting to them.

The good news for tax preparers is that they can re-take the test.

If your tax preparer is planning to quit because of the IRS test, you need to choose another. The deadline for taking the tests is December 31, 2013.

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