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THE TAX PROFESSIONAL

THE IRS ANNUAL FILING SEASON PROGRAM

So how successful was IRS Commissioner Koskinen’s “Annual Filing Season Program” for “unenrolled” tax preparers?


Click here to see the chart of Return Preparer Office Federal Tax Return Preparer Statistics from the IRS website, with

“data current as of 5/1/2015”.


The chart tells us that as of May 1, 2015, only 43,756 of the 408,043 “previously unenrolled” tax preparers (58+% of all PTIN-holders)

were issued an Annual Filing Season Program “Record of Completion”. This is only about 10.25% of the “unenrolled” PTIN-holders.


A big flop, if you ask me. As I expected, since holding a “Record of Completion” provides no real value, very few of us “unenrolled” bothered

with the program.


I still strongly believe that there is a need for a voluntary, independently administered tax preparer credential with actual value, as I discussed in

“THE SOLUTION TO THE QUESTION OF A VOLUNTARY TAX PREPARER CREDENTIAL” in the August 2014 “issue” of THE TAX PROFESSIONAL

(back when this was a monthly online newsletter).


And I also still strongly believe the tax preparation industry needs an organization to speak for, represent the interests of, and lobby on behalf of,

the individual income tax return preparer (the 700,000 PTIN holders) – an American Federation or American Institute of PTIN Holders.


This venue is intended to encourage discussion issues of importance to tax professionals. So what do you think about these two proposals?

Please email your comments to me at [email protected] with THE TAX PROFESSIONAL COMMENTS in the subject line.

WAS THE TAX FILING SEASON AS BAD AS PREDICTED?

Jeff Stimpson of TAXPRO TODAY (and ACCOUNTING TODAY) recently put out a call for comments on the question “Was this season as bad as predicted? Why or why not?”.


Here is what I told Jeff -


“The 2015 tax filing season was no better, or no worse, than any other for me.


Dealing with the new Obamacare issues was nothing more than a time-wasting inconvenience. In most cases I was able to tell if clients had coverage via their W-2 or Social Security or Railroad Retirement 1099. Very, very few clients had to pay the penalty or reconcile their advance Premium Credit.


The problems with IRS ‘customer service’ resulting from the budget cuts did not affect me. I have never called the IRS and this season was no exception.


The only issue with this tax season is that more clients emailed me to say their federal refunds were, and are, delayed than any other of my 44 seasons in the business. Unfortunately, once a return has been prepared and sent to Uncle Sam its fate is out of my hands and there really is nothing I can do.”


Of course my practice is unique. I no longer accept any new clients – so I did not have to deal with new confused taxpayers coming to me for guidance or advice. If I were accepting new clients I probably would not accept any who were not “properly” covered or who received advance premium credits, just as I would not accept any new clients who would be requesting an Earned Income Credit.


One more item on this topic. We were told in January that the extra “due-diligence” for determining if a client had adequate full-year coverage would be overwhelming, which was nonsense. What extra due-diligence? If I could not tell if a client was covered by looking at his W-2 or SSA-1099 I just asked the question. If a client told me that he/she and his/her household were covered that was all I needed. I had no legal, ethical, or moral obligation to personally verify coverage.


I look forward to reading Jeff’s item to see the responses of other tax pros.

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