So much virtual ink has been spilled on tax blogs over the last few years about preparer regulation. And here’s another post.
But I’m going in a different direction with this one.
If I opposed the mandatory RTRP program, and I’m skeptical of voluntary programs, what exactly DO I support?
The IRS already has mechanisms at its disposal to regulate preparers.
Every paid preparer must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. The PTIN must be put on every return the preparer prepares.
This gives the IRS the mechanism to see who’s preparing tax returns. It also gives them the mechanism to control those preparers by seeing which preparers make the most mistakes.
The IRS is Already Doing This
If you follow the disciplinary actions of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, you’ll notice that unenrolled preparers (meaning, preparers who aren’t EAs, CPAs or attorneys) do indeed get busted by the IRS.
The IRS is already using the tools at its disposal to regulate the unenrolled.
Which begs the question of why they need a regulatory program — mandatory or voluntary — at all.
Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.
I do not support regulation of the tax preparer industry by the IRS or any other government agency, and agree with you that PTIN registration is sufficient.
But I do support the establishment of a universally accepted independent voluntary tax preparer credential – not to “regulate” tax professionals but to provide a way to acknowledge their competence and currency and to help the taxpayer public identify competent and current preparers.
Robert – Thanks as always for the comment. We both think along the same lines. I’m okay with an independent body establishing a credential, but keep the IRS out of it. And as an EA, I’m always concerned with how any designation — required or voluntary — would affect the EA brand.
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