I haven’t written about licensing for a while so an update is in order.
Both the weekly e-newsletters from NATP and NAEA are reporting that David Williams is leaving the Return Preparer Office. Mr. Williams has been the director of the RPO since it was created three years ago. He will be replaced by a 20 year veteran of the IRS, Carol Campbell. Ms. Campbell is Commissioner Shulman’s Deputy Chief of Staff and has also worked in the chief counsel office and the Taxpayer’s Advocate office.
The IRS is doing a lot of renovation of their web site and that include the PTIN system. The site has been updated and behind the scenes, the IRS is working to streamline the interface and make it more user-friendly. All the changes are expected to be completed by the time PTIN renewals open in October.
US tax pros who haven’t taken the RTRP exam yet will be receiving an e-mail from the IRS. The service is very concerned about the number of preparers who haven’t taken the test yet. 10,000 tax pros have passed the test and can now call themselves RTRPs. The IRS estimated that 330,000 still need to take the test in the next 16 months. If they haven’t passed the test by then, they will lose their provisional PTIN and be unable to prepare tax returns. After January 1, 2014, those who want to prepare taxes will have to pass the RTRP exam before they will be issued the required PTIN. The exam is being administered by Prometric at their test sites around the US. Besides the RTRP and SEE (EA exam), Prometric administers a wide variety of tests for other organizations. There is a real concern that tax pros will find that they can’t get a test time if they wait too long. The IRS has repeatedly maintained that they won’t extend the deadline.
According to Face the Facts USA, there are more tax preparers in the US than law enforcement officers and firefighters combined. Face the Facts cites 1.2 million tax preparers compared to 765,000 law enforcements officers and 310,400 firefighters. Actually, I think their tax pro number is out of date. 1.2 million was the IRS estimate of tax preparers when the tax preparer registration began. The last I heard was that the IRS has issued under 800,000 PTINs.
Finally, not really licensing but in IRS news, the IRS website will be updating their look on August 30th. Actually, they are taking the front page redesign and applying it to their whole site. While the IRS expects that we shouldn't have problems with bookmarks/favorites, they suggest checking them after the conversion to be sure.