You might have noticed that some tax preparers are sporting a new label. As of press time, about 4,800 tax preparers have earned Internal Revenue Service’s new “Registered Tax Return Preparer” designation.
By the end of 2013, anyone who wants to be paid to prepare or to help to prepare a federal tax return must pass IRS’s 120-question basic competency test to stay in business. Those people also have to complete 15 hours of continuing-education courses per year.
You eventually will be able to check an IRS database to verify whether your tax preparer made the grade. IRS says it expects to have the database up by mid-2013. The new rule will affect about 340,000 tax preparers.