The IRS has recently released Notice 2011-6 (downloads as a pdf) which further explains its position with respect to oversight of tax professionals. It’s big news in the tax professional world.
Perhaps the most notable of the info posted in the Notice was an exception to the IRS requirements for certain tax preparers who will not be signing returns. Those non-signing preparers who are supervised by a CPA, attorney, enrolled agent or other Circular 230 practitioner will not be required to take a competency examination or meet continuing education requirements. There are some rules, though. The preparer must be 18 years old or older; obtain a PTIN; be supervised by a CPA, attorney, enrolled agent or other Circular 230 practitioner who signs the tax returns prepared by the non-signing preparer; and employed at the law firm, CPA firm, or other recognized firm of the tax return preparer who signs the tax return. There’s also the confusing requirement that the non-signing preparer pass the IRS required tax compliance check and suitability check “when those become available.” Fairly meaningless now.
Of course, this is all qualified by the IRS’ five little words: “until further guidance is issued.” Stay tuned.
One more thing: the IRS reminds tax professionals that any individuals who are compensated for preparing, or assisting in the preparation of, all or substantially all of a tax return or claim for refund of tax must have a PTIN. For more on PTIN registration, check out my prior post.