The IRS National Taxpayer Advocate released earlier this year a new publication, The Purple Book, which among its 50 legislative recommendations includes a call for authorizing the IRS to establish minimum competency standards for federal tax return preparers. Noting that the AICPA has opposed a bill that would provide the IRS with the statutory authorization to establish and enforce minimum standards, the publication states that it does not agree that “marketplace confusion” would result when taxpayers would “not be able to distinguish between a preparer who passes a simple competency test and a CPA.”

More recently, Iowa House File 2424 was introduced related to Iowa tax return preparers. It would require that on or after January 1, 2019 uncredentialed tax return preparers would have to register their federally-issued preparer tax identification number (PTIN) with the Iowa Accountancy Examining Board and complete a minimum of 15 hours of continuing education per calendar year, including two hours on the topic of professional ethics, and then submit an annual report to the Board relating to that continuing education. The Iowa Board of Accountancy does not favor the bill. NASBA Legislative Director John Johnson has been working closely with Board staff.

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