Types of Tax Professionals
Many individuals assume that the Internal Revenue Service regulates all return preparers. That is not correct. Enrolled Agents (EAs) and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are regulated professionals with limitless authority to represent taxpayers before the IRS. In most states, unenrolled preparers are not regulated. Furthermore, their ability to represent a client with a tax issue in front of the IRS is severely constrained.Unenrolled return preparers must register in a few states, and some of those states require passing an exam and continuing education. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and Oregon have registration and/or education requirements for compensated tax return preparers.Only the type of credential held dictates the requirements in the remaining states. No qualifications? No problem. Anyone who obtains an IRS preparer tax identification number, or PTIN, can open up a shop and earn money preparing tax returns.
Unenrolled preparers can opt into the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). The AFSP provides tax practitioners who meet the standards with limited representation rights. Participants in the AFSP earn a completion certificate that permits them to represent clients in
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