It seems to me that the underlying reason for the existence of any labor or trade union, or professional membership organization like the AICPA, is to get as many benefits as possible, financial and otherwise, for, and lobby to protect, its membership – regardless of whether or not the benefits and lobbying are appropriate, or whether or not providing the benefits, or what they lobby for, does harm or damage, financial or otherwise, to any other party or parties. Their existence is purely selfish in nature– as I guess it should be.
For example, the actions and lobbying of the AICPA is solely for the purpose of lining the pockets of, and reducing competition for, their CPA members. They don’t care if what they lobby for is morally or ethically “correct” or “appropriate”, or if what they want comes at the expense of, or does harm to, non-CPA groups and individuals. They are not interested in proper tax administration, or what is in the best interests of individual and taxpayers. They only care what is in the best interests of CPAs, and act accordingly.
Case in point – the AICPA opposes anything that gives additional credibility to Enrolled Agents or to “unenrolled” tax preparers. If they oppose tax preparer regulation it is because they do not want taxpayers to think non-CPA preparers who receive IRS “approval” or credentials are as good as, or closer to reality better than, CPA tax preparers. They think they “own” the tax preparation profession and want to keep it that way. When they do support any regulation of preparers they expect to be exempt from its requirements.
While Enrolled Agents do have the National Association of Enrolled Agents to promote and protect members, and lobby on the behalf of members, more ethically and appropriately than the AICPA, “unenrolled” preparers do not have an equivalent of AICPA or NAEA.
There is NATP and NSTP – but these organizations are geared more for providing quality education and resources for members. While they do speak to legislation and IRS issues occasionally on a basic level, and do promote their members, they do NOT act affirmatively to protect members via aggressive lobbying against legislation and government rules and regulations that adversely affect members.
Unenrolled tax preparers, or more to point non-CPA members of the tax preparation industry, truly need a loud and aggressive voice in Washington
But I see a lobbying organization for tax preparers representing the interests of ALL preparers - EAs, the “unenrolled” and CPAs, actually all PTIN-holders - and dealing with the concerns that are common to all preparers. Unlike the AICPA, this organization would not attempt to portray that one class of preparer – the unenrolled and/or the Enrolled Agent – is “more better” than another – the CPA. The competence and appropriateness of a tax preparer should be determined and judged on the combination of the specific qualities and qualifications – knowledge, training, experience, remaining current, pricing and practices - of the individual preparer.
Its purpose would NOT be to promote tax preparers, or one class of tax preparer, in the eyes of the public, but to protect ALL tax return preparers from the imposition of excessive and inappropriate rules and regulations by Congress and the IRS.