Updated July 15, 2015
In June of 2014, the IRS began their Annual Filing Season Program. This program (which is in its second year) is designed to encourage unenrolled tax return preparers to voluntarily increase their tax knowledge by taking tax related continuing education (CE) courses each year. Tax preparers who choose to participate can receive a Record of Completion from the IRS. To do this, the preparer must complete the required number of continuing education hours, have an active PTIN, and consent to adhere to specific obligations under Circular 230.
All continuing education courses must be taken from an IRS approved CE provider and completed by the end of each calendar year.
There are different requirements depending on whether or not an unenrolled tax return preparer is considered an exempt or non-exempt preparer.
Non-Exempt Preparer Requirements
Unless an unenrolled tax return preparer meets one of the requirements to be exempt, they are considered non-exempt. If they are non-exempt, they must meet the following requirements each year:
Tax preparers who have completed one or more of the following are considered exempt:
Exempt Preparer Requirements
If the preparer meets one of the above requirements they are considered to be an exempt preparer and must meet the following requirements each year:
Some of the benefits for a tax preparer who receives a Record of Completion are:
It is important to note that beginning with the 2016 Filing Season, any unenrolled preparer who does not have a Record of Completion will not have any representation rights. This means that they will only be allowed to prepare and sign returns.
For more information on the IRS Annual Filing Season Program and Circular 230 see the following:
The court did not strike down the registration requirement that all paid Federal tax return preparers must register with the IRS, obtain a PTIN, and renew it each year.
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