2013 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums

The IRS Nationwide Tax Forums are taking place across the country. The forums feature the latest tax law information, workshops, continuing education credits and exhibits of the newest products and services. There is still time take advantage of this great opportunity.

For more information or to register, visit the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum website at www.irstaxforum.com.

Be sure to check out the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums YouTube video.

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.

READ ABOUT THE CASE

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.

KEEP UP-TO-DATE

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

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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.  https://www.prometric.com/en-us/contact-us/Pages/reimbursement.aspx

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.

Seminars from the 2012 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums Now Available Online

The 2012 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum seminars are now available as online webinars.  The actual live seminars were filmed by the NTFO (IRS Nationwide Tax Forums Online) and put online.  These are terrific resources for tax professionals.

The 2012 NTFO seminars cover many topics of interest to tax professionals including:

  • tax law updates,
  • registered tax return preparer regulations,
  • Treasury Circular No. 230 overview,
  • American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit specifics,
  • new information on payment card and basis reporting requirements, and
  • EITC due diligence for preparers.

The webinars can be audited for free, or for a fee, Registered Tax Return Preparers, RTRP candidates, Enrolled Agents and CPAs can earn CPE credit. NTFO is registered with the IRS Return Preparer Office and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a qualified sponsor of continuing professional education (CPE).

Tax professionals interested in these seminars should visit www.irstaxforumsonline.com.

PTIN Renewal Period Underway for All Tax Professionals

The online PTIN renewal process takes about 15 minutes. Renewed PTINs will be valid for calendar year 2013. The IRS also has significantly upgraded the PTIN system to make it easier to use and more intuitive. Preparers who have forgotten their log-in information, password, or email address can use online tools to resolve these issues. Access your PTIN account at http://www.irs.gov/PTIN. For more information see IR-2012-79.

Many tax professionals will be required to complete 15 hours continuing education as a part of the PTIN renewal process.  The Phoenix Tax Group offers a 15 hour continuing education package that makes fulfilling the continuing education requirement a snap!

Visit our website http://phoenixtax.com/ce/rtrp for more information.

Becoming an Enrolled Agent

We get so many questions about becoming an Enrolled Agent, we decided to put together a little FAQ on the topic!

What is an Enrolled Agent?

An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of practicing, that is, representing taxpayers, before the Internal Revenue Service. Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can practice before.

Why become an Enrolled Agent?

To survive in this competitive field and command higher fees, enhanced professional credentials are a must. Every paid preparer must now pass the Registered Tax Return Preparer test. Becoming an Enrolled Agent makes you stand out above the crowd. It says that you have done more than meet the minumum standards for your profession.

How do I become an Enrolled Agent?

There are two ways to become an enrolled agent:

  • Computerized examination. You can become an enrolled agent by demonstrating special competence in tax matters through taking and passing the computer based IRS Special Enrollment Examination. After passing the exam you must apply for enrollment (Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service). Applicants must undergo a background check prior to enrollment. This includes a review of the applicants tax transcript. Failure to timely file or pay taxes can be grounds for denial of enrollment. The IRS generally process applications within 90 days.
  • IRS experience. You can become an enrolled agent by virtue of past service and technical experience with the IRS that qualifies you for enrollment.
How do I take the IRS Special Enrollment Exam (SEE)?

Thomson Prometric has been selected by the Internal Revenue Service to develop and administer the computer based Special Enrollment Examination. The examination is administered at one of over 900 Thomson testing centers through the U.S. The application form to take the examination as well as information about the examination can be found on their website at prometric.com/irs.

What is covered on the SEE?

The exam consists of three parts. Part 1 covers individual taxes including estate and gift tax. Part 2 covers taxes pertaining to businesses including sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, fiduciaries, and tax-exempt organizations. Part 3 covers representation before the IRS and practice and procedures of an enrolled agent.

What is the price of the Special Enrollment Exam?

Each part of the examination costs $109 ($327 for all three parts).

When can I take the Special Enrollment Exam?

The 2014 special enrollment examination period starts on May 1, 2014 and runs through February 28, 2015. You can schedule your test online and take the test at any Thompson Prometric Testing Center between those dates.

Do I have to take all three parts of the SEE at the same time?

The three parts DO NOT have to be taken at once. You can take one part at a time. Once you have taken and passed one part, you have two years from the date of passing that part to take and pass the other two parts.

How many questions are on each part of the SEE?

There are 100 questions on each part of the SEE.

How much time do I have to take each part of the SEE?

Each exam is 3.5 hours long. The actual seat time is 4 hours to allow for a tutorial and survey.

Are some questions worth more points than others?

No. Each question is weighted equally.

What is the passing score for each part of the SEE?

There is no exact passing percentage for the exam. The examination is graded on a scale from 40 – 130. The passing score for each part is 105.

When will I know if I passed?

Instantaneously. You will be given your score right after you complete that part of the exam.

Does The Phoenix Tax Group have an Enrolled Agent Exam Review Course?

Yes! The Phoenix Tax Group has published an Enrolled Agent Exam Study Course for over 20 years. Click here to learn more.