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Tax Preparer

A tax preparer is any individual who prepares an income tax return for another individual. There are specific requirements or restrictions by the IRS as to who can or cannot prepare someone else's taxes.   Some of the requirements that the IRS will be requiring of tax preparers include:

  • Requiring all paid tax return preparers, who must sign a federal tax return, to register with the IRS and obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). These preparers will be subject to a limited tax compliance check to ensure they have filed federal personal, employment and business tax returns and that the tax due on those returns has been paid.
  • Requiring competency tests for all paid tax return preparers except attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents who are active and in good standing with their respective licensing agencies.
  • Requiring ongoing continuing professional education for all paid tax return preparers except attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents and others who are already subject to continuing education requirements.
  • Extending the ethical rules found in Treasury Department Circular 230 -- which currently only applies to attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents who practice before the IRS -- to all paid preparers. This expansion would allow the IRS to suspend or otherwise discipline tax return preparers who engage in unethical or disreputable conduct.

A tax preparer may have additional certifications such as enrolled agent, CPA (certified public accountant), or tax attorney.

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