IRS Plans to Regulate Tax Preparers

By: RJ Camposagrado | Posted: 11th January 2010

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) plans to control the U.S tax preparers from the 2011 tax season. This includes mandatory registration, competency testing and ongoing education requirements for tax preparers.

Tax preparers, such as H&R Block Inc. (HRB - Analyst Report) and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. (JTX - Snapshot Report) may need to please these requirements.

According to the IRS, over 80% of Americans use a tax preparer or tax software for filing their tax returns. The new regulation is intended to standardize the tax preparer market and take actions against any wrongdoing by them.

According to the IRS new proposal, all paid tax preparers are required to sign a federal tax return to register with the IRS and get a preparer tax identification number. Additionally, the tax preparers must pass the competency test and must please the continuing professional education requirements. However, there is an exemption for attorneys, certified public accountants and enrolled agents who are already subject to their own professional exams and continuing education requirements.

However, regarding the tax software sector, there was no new recommendation for regulations. TurboTax, a software package developed by Intuit Inc. (INTU - Analyst Report), is a popular one.

Though the new move is not projected to provide any near term benefits, the implementation of the regulation by the IRS will help H&R Block in the long run. The company, a leader in tax preparation services, already offers trained staff. This will provide it an edge over smaller rivals and independent firms, many of which do not posses any tax rule competency.

IRS Plans to Regulate Tax Preparers
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Tags: public accountants, internal revenue service, federal tax return, tax preparation services, tax preparers