Is the IRS Imposing "Voluntary" Continuing-Education Requirements for Tax Preparers?


Oh, IRS, will you ever win?

Via Instapundit comes this Hill story about pre-emptive pushback "against an expected move by the Internal Revenue Service to impose voluntary education standards for tax preparers."

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) sent a letter Wednesday urging IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to abandon the rumored plan. 

The action follows the agency's failed bid to enact mandatory regulations designed to crack down on unscrupulous and unqualified tax preparers. 

A federal appeals court  blocked that effort in February, concluding in a case known as Loving v. IRS that the agency overreached by trying to implement continuing education requirements for hundreds of thousands of tax return preparers.

The IRS decided against asking the Supreme Court to take up the case, with Koskinen suggesting a voluntary certification program may be in order. 

That system, the AICPA argues, would create implied government backing for those preparers who comply with the standards, while punishing those who do not.

More here.

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  1. Excuse me, but isn’t the notion of the IRS regulating tax preparers tantamount to your local county prosecutor “supervising” the work of defense attorneys?

    1. That’s a great idea! We’ll get right on it!

  2. “Voluntary”

    In my neck of the woods, the high school has a program in which kids must fulfill some sort of “voluntary unpaid community service” requirement in order to receive their diplomas.


    1. That’s the new add-on requirement for college applications. College admissions offices are being run by about what you would expect.

    2. When I dared protest this at my kid’s school (he would not be allowed to graduate without it) they told me that sicne my kid already volunteered on his own, this was no big deal, completely missing the point. Forced community service is not community service: it is slavery.

  3. I don’t mean to be too crass or extreme, but fuck the IRS.

    Right in the ear.

    1. With a rusty, but still running chainsaw.

      1. Bad idea; that rusty chain might snap.

        When this happens the whiplash of chain might spray you with IRS guts, and that’s some pretty icky stuff that you really don’t want to get on you.

  4. There is a LOT of incompetence out there. I always tell people to ask their “tax professional” how long he’s been doing returns professionally and how many returns he does in a season. As supervisory tax preparer, I have seen people collecting money to do returns who know less about the law than the people setting across the desk. THAT HAVING BEEN SAID, the IRS has no authority except that given to it by congress and congress didn’t give it to them. Additionally, the test they were using would only weed out the most egregiously ill informed people.
    Besides that, the problem isn’t incompetence, it’s intentional fraud. The only way to deal with fraud is inspection and prosecution. I read frequently about preparers who have reaped fortunes from fraudulent returns but never see the inside of a federal prison. If the IRS were serious about combating fraud, they would put agents in the field and send both preparers and filers to Club Fed. That, however, would be racist and it wouldn’t increase their power over honest people, so we can’t have that.

    1. How about instead of putting people in prison for trying to keep more of their own money, we abolish the income tax or at least have a simple flat tax with no deductions?

      1. Well, SURE!! We’ll do that just as soon as Marxism delivers on its promise and we all have a unicorn in our garage farting rainbows and Skittles.
        I was simply relating to the world we actually live in. BTW, the vast majority of tax fraud centers around the EITC or Child tax credit and has NOTHING to do with people keeping their own money. It’s about people taking money from me and my children and grandchildren. Those folks belong in jail.

      2. trying to keep more of your money has nothing to do with it. You could be trying to pay as much tax as possible and still go to jail.

        Why do we put people in prison for doing a job-they-never-sought “incorrectly” against an unknowable standard?

    2. But doing that would keep them from fucking with small business people and various other bitter clingers and tea baggers. They have priorities you know.

  5. Get back to me when ten randomly selected IRS “experts” can come up with identical results when given a theoretical taxpayer’s info for a sample return.

    1. And those results be admissible evidence in tax evasion cases…

    2. Then we can run the same experiment on the Medicare/aid billing hotlines.

  6. I’m not sure what stake IRS bureaucrats have in who prepares the returns.

    1. They want a whip hand over them, that’s all.

      1. EXACTLY!!

  7. Volunraty. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    1. or Voluntary as it is sometimes correctly spelled.

    2. You’re right. I don’t know what that means 😛

  8. And if they don’t like it, they’re free to spend the weekend with the pain monster.

  9. And if they don’t like it, they’re free to spend the weekend with the pain monster.

    1. see you in next April folks.

  10. Rather than propose voluntary regulations, the IRS should focus its efforts on educating taxpayers and using the industry’s current preparer tax identification number program to identify “patterns of fraud and incompetence.”

    Or they could focus their efforts on making it easier for us to file ourselves.

    1. That’s not the IRS’ call. The monstrously stupid tax code was written by congress. The IRS is just a bunch of typical government bureaucrats with more power than god gave the Archangel Michael.

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