My one “crusade”, if you will, has always been to educate the often misled, sometimes purposely and sometimes as a result of ignorance, taxpaying public, and ignorant financial journalists, of the fact that a CPA is not AUTOMATICALLY a tax expert by the mere existence of the initials. CPA does not = tax expert!
Having the initials CPA after one’s name is no indication that the person knows his/her arse from a hole in the ground when it comes to preparing 1040s. The only initials that have any bearing on 1040 competence and currency is EA (for Enrolled Agent) and, had the IRS regulation regime not been shot down, RTRP (for Registered Tax Return Preparer).
The “urban tax myth” that CPA = tax expert is unfortunately perpetuated by ignorant financial journalists and bloggers who, when reporting on a tax deduction, credit, strategy, or technique, will tell readers to “consult your CPA”. What they should be saying is “consult your tax professional”.
A particular CPA may indeed be a tax expert – and many are. But it has nothing to do with the initials CPA. This person will be a tax expert only because of his/her individual education, training, and experience and his/her remaining current via annual CPE in federal taxation.
My support for a certification program for tax professionals, whether mandatory or voluntary, has always been because I believed such a certification, whether it be RTRP or CTRP or something else, would grant the competent, experienced, and current “previously unenrolled” paid tax preparer with the recognition and respect due his/her education, training, and experience.
If I may be permitted to ask a favor –
Whenever you come across a tax-related article, column, or blog post that says “consult your CPA” please submit a comment to point out the error and explain that the proper advice is “consult your tax professional”.