On June 26, 2014 IRS announced the creation of a voluntary program to focus on continuing education for unenrolled tax preparers. Essentially it is a program for the approximately 60% of preparers who are not attorneys, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, or Enrolled Actuaries. These preparers already have good options for continuing education and other assistance.
Some organizations “unenrolled” preparers can join:
Many groups offering continuing education to CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents and actuaries will allow anyone to attend their seminars. Most of the seminars are not free but that should not stop good and ethical preparers from attending. Unenrolled preparers can always go through the process of becoming enrolled agents. No college education required. The NAEA has plenty of resources for those interested in becoming enrolled agents.
Who does IRS think will join the voluntary group? The shady preparers will not join or if they do join they will figure some way to game the system to “prove” they completed the required course work. If IRS really wants to reduce the “bad” preparers, then they should go after them with their existing powers. The IRS should also ask Congress to give them the power to ban “bad” preparers from preparing federal income tax returns.
A better use of the money would be for IRS to put it into customer service. Maybe they could answer their phones in under two hours.