Return Preparer Office Director Campbell Shares Important Communications for Tax Pros
During a recent visit to Washington, D.C., NATP representatives met with Carol Campbell, Director, IRS Return Preparer Office (RPO), to discuss the issues that members have shared with us and to also get her perspective on topics like due diligence, the importance of earning an EA designation, user fees and information security. There are also some timely messages she requested that we share with you prior to the upcoming tax season. They include:
- Renew your PTIN now.
- Check your PTIN account to verify that no one else is filing tax returns under your number.
- The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) statute is permanent. Taxpayers who qualify for EITC will not receive refunds before February 15, 2017. This is important to communicate to your clients who may be affected.
- When you provide a copy of a tax return to your client, you are not required to include your PTIN on that copy, only on the one you send to the IRS.
- Understand the new due diligence requirements. There is a $510 penalty for each failure to comply with EITC due diligence requirements. (see IRC §6695(g) and a minimum penalty of $1,000 if you prepare a client return and the IRS finds any part of the amount of taxes owed is due to an unreasonable position (see IRC §6694(a)).
If you’re uncertain about the due diligence requirements, we have
upcoming webinars that will clear things up for you.
Helping members become enrolled agents has been a strategic focus at NATP this year with the rollout of our new member benefit, free self-study of the EA Exam Review Part I. Director Campbell explained that the IRS is encouraging professionals to earn their EA designation as a way to demonstrate competency and professionalism. She also explained that when you pass Part I of the EA exam, you are exempt from taking the AFTR test for a two-year period. In an effort to help learners succeed, the IRS has plans to make sample tests available in the near future.
As you may recall, NATP submitted
commentary on the IRS proposed increase to the user fees [REG-134122-15] for each part of the EA exam from $11 to $99. We requested price methodology for the fee increase and made a plea that the IRS be cautious in its fee hikes as to not deter people from obtaining this advanced designation. The IRS has since reevaluated its proposed user fee and reduced it to $81 for each part of the exam. Director Campbell said that the agency can no longer continue the administration of this program without an increase in fees, something they had been able to avoid, to this extent, in past years.
The visit also included discussions on information security and the increased need for preparers to be diligent about protecting their client’s data. Director Campbell encourages tax professionals to
register to receive IRS updates which include specific security-related tips called
Protect your clients, Protect yourself.
Director Campbell also expressed a desire to continue ongoing conversations with NATP and to work through us to get your feedback on the issues that matter to you most.
The NATP group included National Board President, Gerard Cannito; Executive Director, Scott Artman; Director of Member Relations & Analytics, Jennifer Van Elzen; and Government Relations Liaison, Larry Gray. If you have any questions or comments for our Government Relations team, please send to