In a quiet admission of failure, the IRS Return Preparer Office posted on its Facebook page that it won’t be enforcing the new 15-hour CPE requirement for Registered Tax Return Preparers this year:
We’ve received some questions from people who didn’t get their 15 hours of CE completed in 2012. Here’s the deal: In addition to the 15 hour requirement for 2013, you must also make up any hours not completed in 2012. There is no need to designate or notify us that hours earned in 2013 are for 2012. Be sure to keep records of the programs you attend. Additionally, for those people who answered “no” to the CE requirement question on their PTIN renewal, we will be sending them a letter soon advising them they are still responsible for the hours.
There are about 370,000 tax preparers that the IRS estimates are covered by the new rules. The whole regulation scheme was a stupid idea anyway, except as a power grab by Doug Shulman, Worst IRS Commissioner Ever.
The rules will do little or nothing to improve the quality of tax return preparation. By driving seasonal preparers out of the market, they will raise prices. At the margin, that will cause some taxpayers to self-prepare, and others to not file at all. That does nothing for the taxpayer, except for taxpayers who are shareholders in the nationwide tax return franchise businesses that are the real beneficiaries of the rules.
The Institute for Justice lawsuit against the regulation scheme is pending. Katherine Mangu-Ward has more in New IRS Rules Kick In, Leaving Mom-and-Pop Tax Preparers in Limbo (Reason.com)