Registered Tax Return Preparer Program suspended pending litigation.

In a surprise move, a US District Court judge ruled against the IRS, denying its authority to regulate tax preparers and enjoined the agency against enforcing the Registered Tax Return Preparer requirements.  The IRS has released the following statement:

“As of Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has enjoined the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the regulatory requirements for registered tax return preparers. In accordance with this order, tax return preparers covered by this program are not currently required to register with the IRS, to complete competency testing or secure continuing education. The ruling does not affect the regulatory practice requirements for CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents or enrolled actuaries.

The Internal Revenue Service, working with the Department of Justice, continues to have confidence in the scope of its authority to administer this program. On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the IRS and Justice Department asked for the injunction to be lifted. Regardless of the outcome of that request, an appeal is planned within the next 30 days.


The name of the case is Loving, et. al. v. Internal Revenue Service, et. al., which challenges  the validity of the new regulatory scheme for “registered tax return preparers” brought under recent changes to Circular 230. The suit was brought by three independent tax preparers in conjunction with the Institute For Justice.


You can keep apprised of the latest developments and join the conversation at the following sites:


Can I schedule an RTRP test date? (updated 1.25.2013)
The IRS has temporarily shut down the online PTIN system; a test appointment cannot be scheduled at this time.

I am scheduled to take the RTRP test. Will I be able to take it? (updated 1.25.2013)
As of January 23, 2013, all test dates are suspended until further notice.

I am scheduled to take the RTRP test, will I get a refund? (updated 1.25.2013)
If you have scheduled to take the RTRP test, you can use the refund request form on the Prometric website, Prometric on their website or wait to see if the IRS will reinstate the RTRP exam. Contact Prometric at 800.853.6769 or 888.226.9336 for questions about refunds.

I took the RTRP test and passed, will I receive my certificate? (updated 1.25.2013)
The IRS has not answered this question at this time.

I received my RTRP certificate, can I continue to use the RTRP designation? (updated 1.25.2013)
At this time, the IRS has not commented on the future of this designation.

Do I need to get CPE for this year? (updated 1.25.2013)
EAs, CPAs and attorneys must continue to meet their CPE requirements, as do preparers who are regulated at the state level. At this time, the IRS has suspended the continuing education requirement for other paid preparers.  This could change if the court grants the IRS request for a stay. The IRS continuing education reporting system is still available and The Phoenix Tax Group continues to report all completed continuing education to the IRS.