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Tax CPA discusses the IRS loss of Power to require Education for tax Preparers

In January of 2013 the IRS program for registering tax preparers and requiring proper training were struck down in court. As a CPA I’m not affected by that decision since CPAs are held to a higher standard. I do at least 40 hears a year of continuing education a year including a required ethics course. This court decision mostly affects the national tax chains like Liberty and Jackson Hewitt. CPAs don’t really compete for the low-level tax returns the chains prepare. So I’ve got no axe to grind here.

As some background, I worked for Jackson Hewitt for a season decades ago and have taught a course for Liberty. At Jackson Hewitt I received three days of training in an environment so chaotic I doubt anyone got anything from it. At Liberty, their own tax training got minimized as the franchise owner desired.

The tax chains’ software is excellent. But the preparers aren’t well-trained. I hoped that would change with the IRS initiatives.

Since you’re relying on the tax software, my suggestions is to self-prepare using TurboTax. You get quality software and a tax preparer as qualified as you’d find in the chains. TurboTax handles low to moderate tax returns well. The price is cheaper than the chains.

The Turbo Tax business tax return software is OK, but it isn’t bullet proof like their Form 1040 software. You need to know your way around the Partnership or S Corporation tax returns. Their price is high enough that using a CPA is reasonable.