Once again, the issue of tax preparer regulation is in the news. According to ACCOUNTING TODAY “Congress introduces tax preparer regulation bill”.
I do not oppose requiring PTIN-holders to complete a minimum number of CPE hours in federal income taxation to maintain their PTIN. In fact, I support this. It is vital that every sincere and competent paid Form 1040 tax preparer take CPE in income taxation each year to keep up-to-date on tax law changes. I have taken on average at least 16 hours of CPE in federal income taxation each year consistently for decades.
I do oppose requiring all paid tax preparers to take a government-administered competency test, either one time or annually, to maintain their PTIN and continue to be allowed to prepare tax returns. I would only support a one-time initial competency test if there was a grandfathering exemption for paid tax preparers who have been consistently preparing 1040s for a fee for at least 5 years.
After 50 tax seasons of preparing 1040s without incident I have no intention of taking a test now to prove I know what I have been doing for the past 50 seasons.
What I would like to see is a new voluntary tax preparation credential, either a part of the current IRS Enrolled Agent system or, preferably, created and administered by an independent organization. See my editorials “What the IRS Should Do About the RTRP” and “It’s Time for Independent Certification for Tax Preparers”.
So, what do you think?