Monday, January 22, 2018


Did you know that EA is not the only initialed designation that tells people the person with the initials is competent and knowledgeable and current on 1040 tax issues?  There is also -

Accredited Tax Preparer® (ATP) - The ATP credential is for practitioners who have a thorough knowledge of the existing tax code and the preparation of individual tax returns. Their expertise covers comprehensive 1040 issues (including supporting schedules, self-employed returns, etc.) and ethics. 

Accredited Tax Advisor® (ATA) - The ATA credential is for practitioners who can handle sophisticated tax planning issues, including planning for owners of closely held businesses, planning for the highly compensated, choosing qualified retirement plans and performing estate tax planning. Their expertise covers tax returns for individuals, business entities, fiduciaries, trusts and estates, as well as tax planning, tax consulting and ethics.  

These designations are issued and maintained by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation® (ACAT).  ACAT “was established in 1973 as a non-profit independent testing, accrediting and monitoring organization. The Council seeks to identify professionals in independent practice who specialize in providing financial, accounting and taxation services to individuals and small to mid-size businesses. Professionals receive accreditation through examination and maintain their accreditation through commitment to a significant program of continuing professional education and adherence to the Council's Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct.  ACAT programs are governed by a Board of Directors that includes practitioners, educators and a public member. “

FYI, as part of the voluntary IRS Annual Filing Season Program   holders of the Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP) credential issued by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation –

(1) are exempt from the Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course and testing requirements,

(2) automatically qualify for the AFSP - Record of Completion (with a valid PTIN, CPE and Circular 230), and

(3) as Record of Completion holders, will be included in the IRS public database of tax return preparers 

The Council’s website identifies the 3 Steps to Earn an ACAT Credential -

1. Register for an ACAT Exam: After registering you will receive an email with details on scheduling your exam date and time.  If you are scheduling your exam late in the testing window there may be limited testing availability.  

2. Pass the Exam: Get the Study Materials and Locate your PSI Testing Site.

3. Earn Your Credential:
After passing the ACAT exam you will receive information on how to activate your credential.

For more information on these designations, visit or contact ACAT at 888-289-7763 or email:


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