WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service last week released proposed regulations that would establish a fee for individuals who apply for a preparer tax identification number. Proposed regulations that were issued in March would require certain tax return preparers to obtain a number. The IRS is working to finalize those proposed regulations, which are the first of a series of steps planned to increase oversight of federal tax return preparation.
The proposed regulations would establish a fee of $50 to cover technology costs, as well as compliance and outreach efforts associated with the new program. The proposed regulations would also provide for an additional fee, expected to be substantially lower than $50, to be charged by the third-party vendor chosen to operate the new online system. That fee amount is expected to be announced soon, as well as additional details about the launch of a new online application system.
Agencies are directed by the Office of Management and Budget to charge user fees to recover the cost of services that convey special benefits beyond those available to the general public, such as the authority to prepare federal tax returns for compensation.
In January, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman announced the results of a comprehensive six-month study of the tax return preparer industry, which proposed new registration, testing, and continuing education of tax return preparers. With more than 80 percent of American households using a tax preparer or tax software to help them prepare and file their taxes, higher standards for the tax return preparer community will significantly enhance protections and service for taxpayers, increase confidence in the tax system and result in greater compliance with tax laws over the long term.
Tax professionals and other interested parties have until Aug. 23 to submit comments regarding the proposed regulations. The official publication date of these proposed regulations is July 23.