The Internal Revenue Service has launched a multiyear plan to regulate the tax return preparation industry for the first time.
In the first step, the IRS wants tax preparers to renew their tax identification numbers before Jan. 1.
Anyone who prepares a tax return in exchange for a fee must obtain a preparer identification number. Those numbers must be used on each return prepared by the tax preparer. Those preparers who used their Social Security numbers as their identification number will no longer be allowed to use those, they must use the new number assigned to them by the IRS Return Preparer Office, according to David R. Williams, head of the office.
According to a study conducted by the IRS, 30 percent of taxpayers use tax software to complete their annual returns and 60 percent pay someone else to prepare their tax return.
In the future, tax preparers will be required to take an exam and take continuing education annually "to stay up to date on the tax laws because we all know those changes come fast and furious," Williams said.
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