free web stats

Understanding YOUR Tax Return Preparer
Credentials & Qualifications

   

Any tax professional with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is authorized to prepare federal tax returns. However, tax professionals have differing levels of skills, education and expertise.

   

An important difference in the types of practitioners is

“representation rights.”

   

UNLIMITED REPRESENTATION RIGHTS
        

Enrolled agents, certified public accountants, and attorneys have unlimited representation rights before the IRS. Tax professionals with these credentials may represent their clients on any matters including audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals.

           

Certified Public Accountants – Licensed by state boards of accountancy, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Certified public accountants have passed the Uniform CPA Examination. They have completed a study in accounting at a college or university and also met experience and good character requirements established by their respective boards of accountancy. In addition, CPAs must comply with ethical requirements and complete specified levels of continuing education in order to maintain an active CPA license. CPAs may offer a range of services; some CPAs specialize in tax preparation and planning.

Attorneys – Licensed by state courts, the District of Columbia or their designees, such as the state bar. Generally, they have earned a degree in law and passed a bar exam. Attorneys generally have on-going continuing education and professional character standards. Attorneys may offer a range of services; some attorneys specialize in tax preparation and planning.

Enrolled Agents – Licensed by the IRS. Enrolled agents are subject to a suitability check and must pass a three-part Special Enrollment Examination, which is a comprehensive exam that requires them to demonstrate proficiency in federal tax planning, individual and business tax return preparation, and representation. They must complete 72 hours of continuing education every 3 years. Learn more about the Enrolled Agent Program.

Choose your return preparer wisely and always inquire

about their licensing, education and training

        

LIMITED REPRESENTATION RIGHTS
        

Some preparers without one of the above credentials have limited practice rights. They may only represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service. They cannot represent clients whose returns they did not prepare and they cannot represent clients regarding appeals or collection issues even if they did prepare the return in question. Tax return preparers with limited representation rights include:

Annual Filing Season Program Participants  – This voluntary program recognizes the efforts of return preparers who are generally not attorneys, certified public accountants, or enrolled agents. It was designed to encourage education and filing season readiness. The IRS issues an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion to return preparers who obtain a certain number of continuing education hours in preparation for a specific tax year.

                      

Beginning with returns filed after Dec. 31, 2015, only Annual Filing Season Program participants have limited practice rights. Learn more about this program.

 

PTIN Holders – Tax return preparers who have an active preparer tax identification number, but no professional credentials and do not participate in the Annual Filing Season Program, are authorized to prepare tax returns. Beginning January 1, 2016, this is the only authority they have. They have no authority to represent clients before the IRS (except regarding returns they prepared and filed December 31, 2015, and prior).

REMINDER: Everyone described above must have an IRS issued preparer tax identification number (PTIN) in order to legally prepare your tax return for compensation. Make certain your preparer has one and enters it on your return filed with the IRS.

                       

(They are not required to enter it on the copy they provide you.)

DIRECTORY OF FEDERAL TAX RETURN PREPARERS

             

To help taxpayers determine return preparer credentials and qualifications, the IRS has a public directory containing certain tax professionals. The searchable, sortable database includes the name, city, state, and zip code of attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, and enrolled actuaries with valid PTINs, as well as Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion recipients.

also see
 Our primary goal as a trusted advisor is to be available and to provide insightful advice to enable our clients to make informed financial decisions.

Continually striving for accuracy, excellence and the highest level of integrity.

Strive Tax & Accounting, LLC

CPA's specializing in small business tax and accounting with emphasis in construction and manufacturing for corporation and passthrough entities.

PO Box 28353

Green Bay, WI 54324

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White LinkedIn Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
aicpa.png
cleveland-oh_oh_tax-services_28_edited.j

Website Designed by Strive Tax & Accounting, LLC

bookkeeping

bookkeeping

sales tax

small business accounting

IRS

cpa firm

payroll

Forensic Accounting

Accounting

tax preparation

payroll

quickbooks

IRS

small business accounting

small business

bookkeeping

irs notice

corporate tax

quickbooks

quickbooks training

payroll tax

quickbooks setup

tax planning

Green Bay

small business

cpa firm

irs notice

tax planning

IRS

bookkeeping

tax preparation

payroll tax

IRS

Accounting

Forensic Accounting