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Washington
IRS plans new rules for tax return preparers
WASHINGTON (1/6/10)--The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this week announced that it will soon propose tightening its regulation of paid tax return preparers by requiring them to register with the service and to complete competency exams. The new rules, once proposed, would apply to paid tax preparers other than attorneys, certified public accountants, and enrolled agents, a list which would include credit unions that offer tax preparation services to their members for a fee, or related credit union service organizations. The proposal will not apply to the current tax filing season, which ends on April 15. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is watching this closely for its possible impact on tax return assistance provided by credit unions to their members for a fee. According to the IRS, paid tax return preparers would be required to “register with the IRS and obtain a preparer tax identification number.” “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,” the IRS added. Competency tests and ongoing professional education would also be required for these tax return preparers, and the ethical rules found in Treasury Department Circular 230 would also be extended to these preparers. “This expansion would allow the IRS to suspend or otherwise discipline tax return preparers who engage in unethical or disreputable conduct,” the IRS said. In a release, the IRS said that the “higher standards for the tax preparer community will significantly enhance protections and service for taxpayers, increase confidence in the tax system and result in greater compliance with tax laws over the long term.”


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