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IRS Announces New Voluntary Program for Tax Return Preparers

June 27, 2014


The IRS announced on June 26, 2014 that they will soon be issuing guidance on a new voluntary program for unenrolled tax return preparers. Under this new program, tax return preparers would be able to obtain a record of completion from the IRS for completing a required number of hours of continuing education. All tax return preparers who elect to participate in this program and receive a record of completion will be included in a database on IRS.gov that will be available by January 2015 to help taxpayers determine return preparer qualifications.

In order for an unenrolled tax return preparer to obtain an IRS record of completion, they must complete the following number of hours of continuing education:

  • For the upcoming 2015 filing season only:
    • Complete 11 hours of continuing education (CE) from an IRS approved CE provider as follows:
      • 6 hours - Federal tax filing season refresher course (which includes a comprehensive test at completion)
      • 3 hours - Other federal tax law topics
      • 2 hours - Ethics

This requirement will need to be met by December 31, 2014.

  • Each year after 2015:
    • Complete 18 hours of continuing education (CE) from an IRS approved CE provider as follows:
      • 6 hours - Federal tax filing season refresher course (which includes a comprehensive test at completion)
      • 10 hours - Other federal tax law topics
      • 2 hours - Ethics

Once the continuing education requirement is met, an individual will also be required to consent to the duties and restrictions related to practice before the IRS that are detailed in Circular 230, Section 10.51.

A list of all IRS approved CE providers is available on IRS.gov and now includes a new column indicating which providers plan to offer the qualifying courses.

For further details, see the New IRS Filing Season Program Unveiled for Tax Return Preparers news release on the IRS website.

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