Key pieces of information were excluded from the article "Higher standards for tax preparers" (Sept. 27, Page B-4)). The article focused on the IRS "clamping down on the industry" because, "Up to now, paid tax preparers in the vast majority of states were free to hold themselves out as experts without any training."
Yes, it is true for most states — except California. In fact, most of the IRS regulations mirror what California established for its paid tax preparers more than a decade ago.
State law requires anyone who is not an attorney, certified public accountant or enrolled agent to register with the California Tax Education Council.
CTEC-registered tax preparers must complete a qualifying education course, then pass a competency exam, obtain a $5,000 surety bond, plus complete 20 hours of continuing education each year.
The new IRS plan will also enforce an exam requirement and 15 hours of continuing education for tax preparers who are not attorneys, CPAs or enrolled agents.
For years the IRS struggled with how to create tax preparer regulations. Now it seems California paved the way for a national standard.
CTEC public relations director