WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service is starting a voluntary program to certify paid tax preparers who complete annual training and pass a competency test.
A majority of taxpayers pay someone to help them file their tax returns, but most preparers are unregulated. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says the goal is to help consumers know which tax preparers have at least a minimum level of competency.
Attorneys, certified public accountants and others who represent clients before the IRS are exempt because they already undergo training.
The IRS tried to make the training and testing mandatory a few years ago. But earlier this year a federal appeals court upheld a ruling that the IRS didn't have the legal authority to impose the new rules without congressional authorization.