Starting next year, the IRS will impose an annual requirement of 15 hours of competency training as part of its continuous education program for tax preparers. This month, however, the IRS will set competency tests for thousands of tax preparers across the nation in the form of a 120 question, 2 hour test. This has been a long time coming. An IRS review conducted over 6 months found a “near unanimity” among the public and industry players that greater industry oversight is required over tax preparers, according to David Williams, director of the IRS return preparer office.
But there is a fear among industry players that this might lead to a cost increase for taxpayers who engage the services of a tax preparer. However, Alison Pastrick, district Manager in Pittsburgh for H&R Block said, “We can only see this as a benefit for the taxpayer. It will strengthen the credibility and reliability of the tax preparer, and we feel this will reduce errors.”
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