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A new beginning begins with 2013 when it comes to tax preparation.   There are several things you need to know when you take your taxes to be prepared by your tax preparers.  The IRS began making changes in 2011 when they required that tax preparers who worked on preparing a return have a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) and pay an annual licensing fee. 

The second phase is that IRS is requiring that before the end of December 31, 2012,  tax preparers pass a competency test and take continuing education classes in order to prepare individual tax returns.  Certified Public Accountants and Tax Attorneys’ are exempt from  the continuing education classes since they are required by their State Boards to take continuing education classes. 

The IRS requirements for non-Certified Public Accountants are based on four categories of tax professionals.

Enrolled Agents

Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents

Registered Tax Preparers

Registered Tax Preparer Candidates

Enrolled Agents and enrolled retirement plan agents must  take 72 hours of continuing education approved by the Internal Revenue Service every three years with a minimum of 16 hours per year of which two must be on ethics.

Registered tax return prepares are required by the Internal Revenue Service  to take fifteen hours per year beginning in 2012 with two hours on ethics, three hours of federal tax law updates, and ten hours of federal tax law.

Registered tax return preparers candidates have until December 31, 2013 to become Registered Tax Preparer Candidates.  The requirements are fifteen hours of continuing education, two hours of ethics, three hours of federal tax law updates, and ten hours of other federal tax law.

The new IRS requirements are there to protect you when you have your tax return prepared.  In the past, some tax preparers were not preparing fraudulent tax returns in the best interest of their clients and those tax returns came back with audits, penalties, and interest.    To combat the fraudulent tax returns and preparers, the IRS came up with these new tax preparer requirements. 

So remember in 2013, if your tax preparer does not have PTIN or the IRS required continuing education courses, then you should tax your tax preparation to someone else.  To verify that your tax preparer is registered with the IRS you can go to http://www.ptindirectory.com/ to verify that they are registed by putting in their last name, state, and zipcode.

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