New Exam Specifications For Registered Tax Preparers
As part of their ongoing effort to enhance oversight of the tax preparation industry, the Internal Revenue Service has released new exam specifications for Registered Tax Return Preparers.
The specifications identify the major topics that will be covered by the test, which will be available starting this fall. Although individuals who already have a provisional preparer tax identification number (PTIN) from the IRS do not have to pass the exam until Dec. 31, 2013, they may take the exam at any time once it is available.
The test will have approximately 120 questions in a combination of multiple choice and true or false format. Questions will be weighted and individuals will receive a pass or fail score, with diagnostic feedback provided to those who fail. See guidelines: RTRP Specifications
To gain the new designation “Registered Tax Return Preparer,” an individual must:
- Pass this test
- Pass a background check
- Pass a tax compliance check and
- Complete 15 hours of continuing education annually.
For complete details, click here
Check Your Mail: IRS Sending Letters To Tax Pros
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has started sending out more than 10,000 letters to tax return preparers nationwide to remind them of their obligation to prepare accurate tax returns on behalf of their clients.
Also, during the 2011 filing season, IRS representatives will visit approximately 2,500 tax return preparers who received these letters to further discuss their responsibilities as a return preparer and to verify their compliance with existing requirements.
The tax agency is sending the letters to paid preparers who completed tax returns in which the IRS has identified common errors. The letter includes an enclosure that reminds tax return preparers of their responsibilities and consequences of filing incorrect returns.
While most return preparers are professionals who provide honest and excellent service to their clients, some make basic errors or engage in fraud and other illegal activities. The IRS will continue to work closely with the Department of Justice to pursue civil or criminal action as appropriate.
The IRS urges taxpayers to be careful when choosing a preparer. Reputable return preparers will ask to see receipts and will ask multiple questions to determine whether expenses may be claimed as deductions or otherwise qualify for favorable tax treatment. By doing so, they are trying to help their clients avoid penalties, interest or additional taxes that could result from an IRS examination.
These letters and planned visits are another step in increased IRS efforts to heighten awareness of preparer responsibilities and to ensure paid tax return preparers are assisting taxpayers appropriately. The IRS is continuing its efforts to implement the recommendations IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman announced in January following a comprehensive six-month study of the tax return preparer industry.
New PTIN Rules And Website
If current announcements and information about the new IRS PTIN requirements have caused your head to spin, you are not alone. Here is a breakdown of important dates to help you untangle what is required, when it is required and for whom for the upcoming tax season.