Recent IRS News
View recent, tax-related IRS news releases below.
Resources for Tax Preparers:
IRS Releases Specifications for Registered Tax Return Preparer Test IR-2011-89, Sept. 6, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today released the specifications for the competency test individuals must pass to become a Registered Tax Return Preparer.
The test is part of an ongoing effort by the IRS to enhance oversight of the tax preparation industry. Preparers who pass this test, a background check and tax compliance check as well as complete 15 hours of continuing education annually will have a new designation: Registered Tax Return Preparer.
The specifications identify the major topics that will be covered by the test, which will be available starting this fall. Although individuals who already have a provisional preparer tax identification number (PTIN) from the IRS do not have to pass the exam until Dec. 31, 2013, they may take the exam at any time once it is available.
The test will have approximately 120 questions in a combination of multiple choice and true or false format. Questions will be weighted and individuals will receive a pass or fail score,
with diagnostic feedback provided to those who fail.
Test vendor Prometric Inc. worked with the IRS and the tax preparer community to develop the test. The time limit for the test is expected to be between two and three hours. The test must be taken at one of the roughly 260 Prometric facilities nationwide.
To assist in test preparation, the following is a list of recommended study materials. This list is not all-encompassing, but a highlight of what the test candidates will need to know >> Read More >>
- Top Errors for Paid Preparers on Paper Return Submissions
The top errors for paid preparers on paper return submissions this filing season include not claiming the rate reduction credit when it applies, as well as claiming the credit incorrectly.
- Automated Collection Services Large Case Check Sheet: ACS has developed this check sheet to help expedite the resolution on accounts in the Large Dollar Unit of ACS. The check sheet is for those accounts with a balance due of $100,000 or more.
- Why Pay Taxes? The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments responds to some of the more common frivolous “legal” arguments made by individuals and groups who oppose compliance with the federal tax laws.
- E-File News:
- Electronic Payment Options Electronic payment options are convenient, safe and secure methods for paying taxes. If there is a balance due, you can e-file the return and payment authorization in a single step
- Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), free from the U.S. Treasury. Pay all federal taxes electronically – on-line or by phone 24/7. Visit www.eftps.gov to enroll.
- Online Payment Agreement The Online Payment Agreement (OPA) allows eligible individuals to apply for an installment agreement to pay off their tax liability. To qualify, you must have your bill from the IRS and have filed all required tax returns. You must owe less than $25,000 and be able to pay the entire liability within 60 months. To use this application you must have filed a Power of Attorney for all taxes that are unpaid and have a copy of the taxpayer’s bill from the IRS.
- IRS e-file Made Easy – A Tax Professional’s One-Stop e-file and e-Pay Shop
- Your link to all things e-file and e-pay including e-Services. Designed as an easy to follow, one-stop resource center for IRS e-file and e-payment information. We’ve included everything you’ll need to get started in IRS e-file as well as links to other valuable information for tax professionals.
- IRS Identifies 100,000 Preparers Who Failed to Follow New PTIN Rules
IR-2011-74, July 12, 2011 – WASHINGTON — As part of its new oversight program of the nation’s tax return preparation industry, the Internal Revenue Service today announced it will send letters to approximately 100,000 tax return preparers who prepared returns in 2011 but failed to follow new requirements.
- One Billion Served: IRS E-File Passes Major Milestone
IR-2011-64, June 9, 2011 – WASHINGTON — IRS e-file has reached a major milestone as it passed the one billion mark for individual tax returns processed safely and securely since 1986.
- IRS Statement: Selection of Vendors for Return Preparer Testing and Fingerprinting Programs
The Internal Revenue Service has selected Prometric, Inc. as the vendor to administer a new competency examination and fingerprinting program for certain paid tax return preparers. The IRS has also selected Daon Trusted Identity Services as a vendor to offer fingerprinting services.
- REINSTATEMENT OF RENEWAL PERIOD FOR ENROLLED AGENTS WHOSE TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS END IN 4, 5, OR 6.
Announcement 2011-29 – In Announcement 2010-81, 2010-45 I.R.B 638, the IRS delayed the renewal period under section 10.6(d) of the regulations governing practice before the IRS, Treasury Department Circular No. 230, 31 CFR part 10 (Circular 230), for enrolled agents whose social security number or tax identification number ends in 4, 5, or 6. This Announcement reinstates the renewal period for affected enrolled agents beginning June 1, 2011, which is thirty days after the publication of this Announcement.
- Enrolled Agent Application Fee Reduced
The Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have released regulations in TD 9523 that lower the triennial application fee for enrolled agents. The $30 fee, which is down from $120, applies to both initial enrollments and renewals. The regulations are currently effective and the renewal period for enrolled agents with Social Security Numbers ending in 4, 5 and 6 will be from June 1, 2011 through August 30, 2011.
- Eight Tips from the IRS to Help you Determine if your Gift is Taxable
IRS Tax Tip 2011-62, March 29, 2011
If you give someone money or property during your life, you may be subject to the federal gift tax. Most gifts are not subject to the gift tax, but the IRS has put together the following eight tips to help you determine if your gift is taxable.
- Important Tax Law Changes for 2010
IRS Tax Tip 2011-31
Taxpayers should make sure they are aware of many important changes to the tax law before they complete their 2010 federal income tax return.
- Eight Essential Facts about Claiming the First-Time Homebuyer Credit
IRS Tax Tip 2011-27, February 08, 2011
If you purchased a home in 2010, you may be eligible to claim the First-Time Homebuyer Credit, whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a long-time resident purchasing a new home. The purchaser must have been at least 18 years old on the date of purchase; for a married couple, only one spouse must meet this age requirement. A dependent is not eligible to claim the credit.
- New Preparer Regulations
Tax preparers will be required to complete three steps in order to comply with new regulations in 2011:
Step 1 – Register with the IRS to obtain a PTIN. More info.
Step 2 – Complete a competency exam by mid-2011.*
Step 3 – Complete 15 hours of continued education each year.
*CPAs, Eas, and attorneys do not have different CPE requirements.
- How To Become An ERO
Click here to access the IRS website. Sign-up for e-services, and then apply for an EFIN (electronic filing identification number). Preparers need an EFIN in order to participate in Federal and State electronic filing.
- Apply For or Renew Your PTIN
Beginning January 1, 2011, all paid preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number before preparing returns. If you already have a PTIN, you must renew it. You can sign up for or renew your PTIN online or by paper application. It costs $64.25 per year.