IRS WAIVES PREPARER CONTINUING ED FOR 2011, NEW RETURN PREPARER OFFICE CREATED

The following is from www.nstp.org (National Society of Tax Professionals)

IRS Commissioner Douglas Schulman and IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) Director Karen Hawkins have publicly announced that the IRS will delay implementing the new continuing education requirement for tax preparers until after 2011. Therefore, preparers will not have to take the 15 hours of courses next year. (Note that lawyers, CPAs, and enrolled agents still must meet any requirements of their particular licensing boards.) Shulman also stated that it is “highly likely” that there will be some relief from testing and continuing education requirements for people who do not sign a return and who work in a professional firm under the supervision of an accountant, enrolled agent or lawyer.

Competency Testing: OPR Director Hawkins also has announced that she expects the competency testing to begin in July 2011. Within a month, the IRS plans to solicit proposals from vendors interested in developing the testing system, according to Hawkins.

New IRS Preparer Office: The IRS is creating a Return Preparer Office inside of the agency. It will be led by David R. Williams who, prior to this appointment, served as Director of Electronic Tax Administration and Refundable Credits. The new office will have broad responsibility for the return preparer initiative and will manage the continuing education and testing of all professionals under IRS jurisdiction. It will also manage the PTIN registration system and process. Note that the Office of Professional Responsibility led by Hawkins will continue to function as a separate IRS entity and will not be under the jurisdiction of the Return Preparer Office.

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