Federal Legislation introduced to regulate tax preparers.

A bill to regulate paid tax preparers and mandate they meet minimum competency standards was introduced by South Carolina 7th District Congressman Tom Rice (R) and Congressman Jimmy Panetta. (D-C.A.)

The Taxpayer Protection and Preparer Proficiency Act would allow the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to regulate paid tax preparers.  The bill would mandate they meet minimum competency standards such as being able to properly prepare returns and process refunds.  As well, paid tax preparers would be required to pass ongoing continuing education requirements.

According to a press release from Rep. Rice, “Currently, no minimum federal competency standards for tax preparers exist.  Tax preparers have no obligation to receive tax education, training, or competency requirements in tax return preparation, leaving families and individuals who rely on these services at risk.”

The bipartisan bill’s co-sponsor Panetta adds, “Anybody who pays for their taxes to be prepared deserves to know that their tax preparers are professional, proficient, and principled and, if not, will be held accountable by the IRS.”

Currently tax preparers can be prosecuted for fraud, but under current precedent they cannot be held liable for incompetence.

Unfortunately, SCACPA is all to aware of the issues caused by lack of competency of paid tax preparers, as we get calls every year from the public asking for help with their situation after using an unlicensed tax preparer.

As the only Association in South Carolina protecting and promoting the CPA profession, we launched the “WhyCPA” campaign to help educate the public on the value of using a CPA.  Learn more about the campaign at www.scacpa.org/whycpa.