Posts Tagged ‘Preparer Tax Identification Number’

Articles

2014 Tax Season Start Date Push Back…

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on November 18, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Early Birds Must Be Patient: Government Closure Pushes Back 2014 Tax Season Start

New Year's Eve ClockThe government shutdown will have a ripple effect into next year. The IRS announced a delay of about one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season. The agency needs the extra time to double-check its tax processing systems since the federal government was M.I.A. for 16 days.

Think government computers should be able to handle anything, no problem? Basically, fifty core IRS systems have to be able to process 150 million tax returns with no glitches. Updating these systems is a really confusing, year-round process with most of the work starting in the fall – in other words, right when the government stopped dead in its tracks.

Calendar 321About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown. Stir in the fact that this year there were already extra programming demands on IRS systems, to provide more refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for delay. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21. Now the IRS won’t start accepting 2013 individual tax returns until sometime between Jan. 28 and Feb. 4.

MH900339880Sending tax returns via snail mail won’t bypass the delay either: the IRS won’t process paper tax returns before the postponed start date. And there’s no point in doing that since taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit. Looking further down the road, the April 15 tax deadline is set by statute, so that won’t get pushed back even with the late start.

The IRS is up and running after the 16-day downtime and is putting in work to catch up on the 400,000 pieces of paperwork that piled up during the closure. Stir in the 1 million items already being processed before the shutdown, along with the heavy demand on phone lines and walk-in sites, and you’ve got yourself another recipe, this time for a headache. The IRS encourages taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent, and to use automated applications on IRS.gov. Don’t rush if you don’t have to: set your briefcase down and take a minute to smell the autumnal air before you continue on your busy day.

MH900237191Addendum: And that’s not all that was delayed folks. The PTIN renewal season was supposed to start on October 16, but nothing could happen because the IRS was closed. Luckily the agency got things back on track and the PTIN Renewal Season for 2014 officially began on October 30. That means about 690,000 federal tax return preparers have two months – from now until December 31 – to go online and renew their PTIN’s. Anyone who doesn’t and still wants to make money preparing federal returns, will be out of a job come New Year’s.  

Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

Articles

Tested or Not?! Calling all Registered Tax Return Preparers!

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Education,Family,Taxes on February 21, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

ExamRTRP Program Up in the Air: Testing and Continuing Education are Voluntary


Calling all Registered Tax Return Preparers! You know how the IRS now requires every paid tax return preparer to pass a competency test and meet continuing education requirements in order to be called an RTRP? Not anymore. On January 18, a federal judge ruled that the mandatory RTRP regulatory system is invalid because the IRS had to stretch a law to make it apply to preparers in the first place. Prepare to be very, very confused.


In short, the ruling means the IRS does not have the authority to license tax preparers. Which means that as of right now, according to the IRS, “tax return preparers covered by this program are not currently required to register with the IRS, to complete competency testing or secure continuing education.” The regulatory practice requirements for CPA’s, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, or enrolled actuaries are unaffected by the ruling.


MH900054685Required is the key word in all of this. The IRS filed a motion to suspend the injunction, which was denied on Feb.1 by the same judge. However, he did clarify that the IRS can allow preparers to “voluntarily obtain credentials that might distinguish them from other preparers.” Thus, the IRS’ testing and continuing-education centers will remain open. Indeed, it might be a good idea to complete the RTRP requirements anyways: the IRS can appeal the judge’s full ruling and his decision could eventually be reversed.

The judge also clarified that the injunction does not affect PTINs, which means that those requirements and fees are still active. The IRS has reopened the online PTIN system, but it’s being updated to reflect current requirements. All of this confusion comes at a bad time with tax filing season just ahead. Tax return preparers need answers from the IRS and they need them fast.

Man pointing chartAnd what does all this mean for us, the tax payers?  Always check your tax preparer‘s background, credentials and ask for references!  “Google” the tax preparer’s name and check out his/her background as much as you are able before you make the hiring.  Just because it is NOT required to be licensed, does not mean that anyone off the street can and should prepare your tax returns!  Hire a reputable tax preparer will paid off in the long run!


On the Money, Sufen Wang, Wang Solutions

M.S.Accountancy, Long Beach, CA 562-856-0793

Articles

A Perfect Match:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on January 16, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , ,

What to Look for in a Tax Return Preparer

It’s already that special time of the year, folks: people are getting ready for tax returns. You might be tempted to forget about filing because you plan on having a professional do it for you. But how do you know that you’ll find the right person for the job? After all, as the taxpayer, you are legally responsible for everything written on your tax return – even if you don’t prepare it. Here are some tips to keep in mind so that you can ensure your paperwork ends up in good hands. 
 
First and foremost, the preparer MUST have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) – otherwise he won’t be able to sign your return and enter this number, which is now required for all paid preparers. Once you have his official digits, you’ll want to dig a little deeper. Steer clear of any individual who has had a particularly unpleasant relationship with the Better Business Bureau or a bad record with the State Boards of Accountancy for certified public accountants, State Bar Associations for attorneys, etc.  You get the drift?!
 
You’re obviously going to be charged for the preparer’s services, but how you pay is crucial. Avoid anyone who bases their fee on a percentage of your refund.  Or take your business elsewhere if the preparer tells you that your refund will go into his bank account first, and he will then write you a check, after deducting his fees. Your tax refund is your money and should be deposited directly into an account in your name.  You should pay your tax preparer separately for his services. 
 
How you file is also important. The IRS is pushing for e-file because it’s faster and safer, and your preparer should at least make this option available to you.  And if you choose not to e-file, then be sure to read my last week’s blog, Hello E-File!, as a reference to understand your responsibility in this process.
 
The tax preparer needs to be easily accessible to you, both by telephone and in-person. You don’t want to show up a few days before your returns are due and find a “Gone Fishing” sign on the door. You also don’t want your preparer to mysteriously leave town (with all of your personal information) after the return has been filed, so make sure you will be able to contact him for future questions.
 
Once you chose a preparer, you still need to keep your eyes open for any signs of bad business practices. A good preparer will ask you tons of questions to double-check your financial information, and should also request all of the necessary records and receipts. Think about it: how can someone accurately file your return if they don’t have the required documents, or a full understanding of your financial detail? 
 
Returns are like checks – never sign a blank one. That means you need to review the completed return in its entirety before signing it. Ask your preparer any questions you may have, because if something is incorrect, you’re the one who will have to deal with it later. So, ask questions, and do no stop until you get satisfactory answers from your preparer.  Finally, once the preparer has signed your return and included his PTIN, don’t walk out of the office until you have a hard copy in hand. Tax preparers are supposed to make things easier for taxpayers. Don’t let one get off easy if he tries to swindle you: report abusive tax preparers with Form 14157, available on www.irs.gov.
 
On the Money
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions

Articles

Using the Title “Registered Tax Return Preparer”?!

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on October 23, 2011 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

 The IRS says Nobody Can Claim the Name – Just Yet

 

 

Think you have what it takes to be called a Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP)? At the moment, nobody does! In case you missed it, the IRS issued a reminder that NO ONE can currently claim to be a “Registered Tax Return Preparer,” even if they have a provisional preparer tax identification number (PTIN).
 
Cutting corners (and words) by calling yourself a “Registered Return Preparer” or “Registered Tax Preparer” isn’t going to cut it either. In order to become an official RTRP, an individual must have a valid PTIN, complete 15 units of continuing education, pass the
IRS competency examination, and also pass the tax compliance and suitability checks. Sounds simple enough – except for the fact that the examination is not yet available and the IRS is still developing the suitability check!


Although the IRS released the specifications for the exam, the agency hasn’t stated when the test and the check will be up and running. Since NOBODY can satisfy all four of the RTRP requirements, at this point, NOBODY may designate her/himself as a registered tax return preparer. That means EAs, CPAs, and other individuals exempt from taking the IRS competency examination and the 15 education units shouldn’t print “Registered Tax Return Preparer” on their business cards either.

Don’t turn a blind eye to these IRS requirements– especially since all 730,000 PTIN holders are subject to the advertising and solicitation rules under section 10.30 of Circular 230. Advertising yourself as an RTRP when you really aren’t registered could result in a trip to the Office of Professional Responsibility, a monetary penalty, and even a disqualification from the practice. Now stop reading and go study and get ready for the IRS upcoming competency exam!

 
So, folks, don’t get fool by titles or advertised names, check out your tax preparer’s credential before you acquire the services.
 
On the Money,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions