The general public hasn't seen much on this story, but at the end of last week some plaintiffs won a lawsuit against the IRS and the new registered tax return preparer program. This program has been in place for a year or so, but was scheduled to expand in scope. All tax preparers were going to be required to be registered, undergo a background check, adhere to a professional code of conduct, and follow continuing education requirements. It doesn't sound like a bad idea, does it? Well a few people challenge it in court and won- so we now wait to see what the IRS is going to chose to do in court or to get congress to supports its efforts via legislation.
CPAs and enrolled agents (EAs) will still be held to above standards via CPA Board and IRS regulations, but not every tax preparer will be. Regardless of which type of tax preparer you chose to engage, be sure that you are dealing with a skilled and trustworthy individual. Ask about experience, whether they are available year-round, and about their experience with situations similar to yours.
By Adam Shay
Wilmington, NC CPA