Discussion:New Licensing Rules?

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GregC8579 (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
I'm just wondering what everyone thinks about this.

IRS may seek licenses for tax preparers

As always, all opinions are welcomed. Thanks for your thoughts.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
I'm thinking most people will be pleased about this. IRS is also attempting to put together a program to review preparers as well. What this means is that there will be more scrutiny and those that aren't up to the task will be called out on it and those that do the work right will be fine.

I'm thinking that for those firms, both large and small, that just churn out returns <without a formal review process> with the intent that if mistakes are made they will correct after the fact will be hit pretty hard.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Combine this with Discussion: IRS May Seek License for Tax Preparers

Does anyone really think something will happen?

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
No.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

June 5, 2009
I hope not. Not that I couldn't get the EA, but I really have much better things to do than memorize facts that can be looked up and which change each year. What a waste of brainpower. If it tested concepts, I'd be more on board. But to have to remember the standard deduction for a couple, one of whom is blind, one is over 65, the other is African, living in the US for 172 days, commuting to work, etc. etc.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
I mean, think about it. There are, oh, maybe 45,000 enrolled agents currently licensed by OPR. That's what they're currently set up to do. The operation is the size of a largish state bar association with similar responsibilities.

There must be a good two-three MILLION unenrolled preparers out there, maybe even more. To examine, license, and discipline unenrolled preparers would increase OPR's administrative burden by two orders of magnitude.

No, what really needs to happen is to overhaul the individual income tax to simplify and streamline it so as to eliminate the need for most people to use a paid preparer.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

June 5, 2009
And yes, making my point...what will they test? Knowledge of that standard deduction amount. Anything on whether this guy should incorporate and what that means? No. Whether someone should be an LLC or Inc.? No. Anything about even whether a guy should do a 1035 or just pay the cap gains tax? No. But they'll check to see if you know the cap gains rate on jewelry collections held for six years.

Garytax (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Seems to me every time I hear about simplification it just gets more complicated. Careful what you wish for Norm, or we may end up with a "simplified" Alternative Alternative Minimum Tax (AAMT).

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Well, yeah, but do we really NEED four different education related tax relief programs? Or, what is it, five or six different tax advantaged ways to save for retirement?

Should we really use the tax code to distort the marketplace for, say, residential housing? Or favor debt financing over equity financing in business?

Should we really encourage people to contribute to Harvard University's multi-billion dollar endowment by making such contributions deductible but discourage contributions to the Sierra Club or the ACLU because its small income is sometimes used to endorse a particular candidate?

Should we really extend very favorable tax treatment to dividend and capital gains income while taxing the life out of salaries?

NO. WE DON'T AND WE SHOULDN'T!

Garytax (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Point well taken. Unfortunately, the tax code is one of the toys that Congress/Presidents are very fond of and to get them to stop playing with it would be an accomplishment indeed.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

June 5, 2009
Careful, NM, you're starting to sound like CROW!

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
That's right! We're finally getting some common sense in here, instead of this Elephant ideology! lol.

The strange thing is is that if you license, the overall price for doing a return should go up. This would probably result in a lot of people trying self-prepare software.

So, the software people would benefit.

I guess Sarah Palin could do her own taxes instead of going to Block. I think the Treasury Secretary self-prepares.... or did....

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Sarah Palin? The Governor who didn't realize that she had to pay tax on per diem received for nights hse spent in her own home? THAT Sarah Palin?

CherrieEA (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
To think that Congress will simplify anything is a pipedream. I see new representation clients on a regular basis. They come into my office with a CP2000 or worse. Their returns were prepared by incompetent preparers many of whom did not even sign the return. I tell these clients that their hairdresser has to be licensed but the person to whom they gave confidential, financial information never even had to take a class. These clients are stunned, enraged, and often frightened. I do not believe that everyone that prepares a tax return needs to be Circular 230 licensed. I do believe there should be minimum testing standards and licensing levels for consumer protection. If the person who does my nails has to be licensed and take classes every year why should financial professionals fight any minimal regulation.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Could it be that one outcome of the housing meltdown will be that home mortgage interest will cease to be the sacred cow, the third rail, or whatever of American taxation? That deduction means little if you are losing the house to foreclosure. And perhaps if we had a few more stories of malfeasance in the charity world, that holiest of holy deduction could be eliminated, and presto, a simpler tax return.

And next year we will surely have tomatoes as large as cantelopes too!

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

June 5, 2009
Chemicals, Cherrie. Your hairdresser can kill someone. It's only when I pull a gun for non-payment that that's the chance for my clients. But what do you test for competency? Personally, a background check might be the most valuable, since it eliminates the shysters right away, much like the efile rules. Interestingly enough, only the UNLICENSED get checked for efiling! CPA's, attorneys, and EA's just give their credentials and get a pass! I suppose someone figgers that if they cheat, they'll lose their certificate...but I thinks that's horse-hockey.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
I hope they do not because once I pass my EA exam this year, I plan on raising my rates. If everyone has a CPA or EA, then the field is level again and I will lose my ability to differentiate myself (however well that will work).


I have mixed feelings....studying for the EA exam has extended my knowledge of what I already knew (deepend it). I also plan to extend my tax organizer to better question some of the areas surrounding many of the gotcha items. But six months from now, I will be back to double checking myself on items I don't use every year. I have met some real idiots with the personality skills of a badger (no names) that carry initials after their name. I have met some outstanding tax preparers (met one in the mirror this morning) who don't have licensing initials behind their name (yet) but really do a great job. So it is the person not the initials behind their name.


I think that the best result will be that a continuing education requirement will be included. So I think many will use that continuing education to improve themselves.


Michael

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Michael, you differentiate yourself by being better than the competition, not by having letters after your name. If you have a certain designation and yet are still a sucky tax preparer, you are a sucky tax preparer.

I have the CPA designation, but if I delve into areas where I have no experience I am doing my clients a disservice. The letters after my name do not make me smart, me telling myself I am smart makes me smart.

TRcpa (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Should they yes, will they no. I could see so low level certification requiring a PTIN and mininal annual training.

Brock as far as worrying there are not that many dedicated people in the world that are going to put the time in to get an EA or CPA.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

June 5, 2009
I agree. Letters mean nothing. Great, professional, and prompt service matters the most. The smartest guy in the world who can't produce is worthless.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Just to clarify my earlier point, so that there is not any confusion. I wasn't busting on EA's and CPA's what so ever....just stating that once the exams are past (as I once heard someone say about Barry Bonds) you still have to wake up in your skin every day. Exams certainly improve preparers, you can't get through them without learning a lot and becoming better at what you do.


Having said that and all of this, most everyone here that I have met have both the 'gift' AND initials, which makes the combination deadly for the competition. I can't understate my appreciation for everyone here.


Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
We're only in it for the groupies, ya know.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
So I heard a wise man say..... I keep maintaining hope! :D


The only thing that my non-licensed days have brought are PITB semi-freeloader clients with a couple really great ones mixed in.


I hope that once I pass and start working on the continuing education, I can find some good classes on practice management.


Michael

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Believe me, Michael, the beat goes on and the PITAs keep right on coming.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

June 5, 2009
Maybe it will merely give yourself the perception that you're worth more, Michael. Yes, there may be a perception to the public that you're worth more, but I bet it's pretty tiny. I think most clients expect us all to have a minimal level of competence, and until we prove we don't have it, they assume that we do. And we can charge whatever the market will bear. Esp. on referrals who come to us because of our rep in the community.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
You could be right, I already charge a high rate compared to H&R but I manage to get most of my client's most of their deductions! :D


I will be leveraging my EA status and my 'increased costs to achieve the EA' to raise the rates on some of my clients who have done things that have significantly increased the time/difficulty of their return (moving mid-year, going from self-employed to a minister, part year returns, etc.) yet don't feel they should have to pay anything extra this year. They must pay to play.


Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
B&A,

But don't discount the value in offering NEW services as well as improving the existing ones.

Taxea (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Registering tax preparers and requiring a minimum competency makes sense, said Paul Cinquemani, director of government relations for the National Association of Tax Professionals.

"As complex as the tax law is, believe me it doesn't hurt to raise the bar," Cinquemani said in an interview. "I don't understand how anyone operates without getting education to stay on top of tax law. It's very complex."

Cinquemani said registering tax preparers would enable the IRS to track the ones with problems. He said there are two kinds of preparers who have problems.

"There are the incompetent and there are the unscrupulous," he said. "Some are both."

This is from the reference and I totally agree. These type of preparers need to be weeded out of the system. Look at the disservice they are doing to the taxpayer!

Hawaii is one of the states that does not license tax preparers. We have a wealth of unscrupulous ones. I feel bad for their clients.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Right NMexEA, new services are on tap for next year. This year it is the EA exam, coaching two simultaneous soccer teams, vacation, and a couple dosen honey do list items.


As I told someone the other day about fishing...."if there is a fish in water, I will find a way to catch it". Likewise, if there is a service that can be sold, I will find a way to sell it".


I am going to slam the exam, start pushing hard to get some sub work in January, and then hit it hard for tax season. The bad news is that I do not have the time to do much marking this year. The new clients will get the higher rates and I will slowly move the existing clients up. I am in a different spot in that I am doing this just to make ends meet and for my kids so my wife can stay home and raise them. I realized a couple weeks ago that in my quest to keep the customers happy I was doing way too much work for free....so I started changing that and lost one client already. I guess that $150 for a few hours of work to help them plan their move, move the business, rework quarterlies, etc. was just too much. If you knew what I did for them for free you would know the irony of that statement.


I have limited time, doing this part-time so I need to maximize my hourly rate. If the customers want to go, then best of luck to them. I want to move up into the higher end work since my time is limited and EA work is


Michael

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

5 June 2009
Nothing wrong with weeding out the unscrupulous ones. And Michael, I don't think we took offense at your remark, I was just saying that your worth is based on your own base of knowledge and professionalism and it appears you have started well. For instance, your existing clients who may have been charged $250 for their tax return will not pay $400 for that same tax return from you just cause you passed a test.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

6 June 2009
Fsteincpa,


I gotcha, we're speaking the same language. I know how testy the whole enrolled vs. non-enrolled conversations can get so I wanted to head off any chance that someone might misinterpret my statement. The people here are top notch and I don't want to offend any one of the group.


Concur on the pricing and part of my price increase in reality will have more to do with the fact that I am undercharging a few of the real PITB clients based on the nonsense they put me through. I will justify it to them that I am now an EA and that they are a PITB.


Michael

Pegoo (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
I guess the laundromat tax preparers are gonna fail haha.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
No, they won't, because the standard will be set so low that a reasonably intelligent poodle will be able to pass first try.

Not a miniture poodle, maybe, but a proper standard poodle with some bookkeeping experience.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
Why are they called 'standard' poodles when there are really more of the little ones than big ones?

And who sets the standards?

I always wonder as I'm standing at an "American Standard" urinal. And why isn't there a urinal for those of us who consider ourselves 'above average' if you know what I mean?

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

June 12, 2009
LOL>>>>>>>>>>>>>>oh, you are so true. Reminds me of the guy from Notre Dame peeing next to the guy Michigan...and the MI guy says, wow, that water's cold. The ND guy says, and deep, too.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
Okay it is June 12, 2009 and I am going to make a prediction....


Whatever the tax everything that moves and if it doesn't move tax it twice administration comes up with, compliance with it will end up costing us...and ultimately the consumers...money via some sort of tax. I wish it were 2012....and I desperately hope that I don't have to wish for 2016.


Michael

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
I don't wish it were 2012. There are an awful lot of money making opportunities for us as tax advisors every time an administration changes tax laws. We should all vote for change. It's good for our personal pocketbooks.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
Kevin5h, normally you would be correct. Generally switches between one party and the next guarantee enough changes to the process that we get job security.


However, in this case, there has been fundamental damage to our Republic as a result of this administration. Would you ever become a preferred shareholder in any major American industry after the savior gutted them in favor of the unions in the bankruptcy of Chrysler? I would not. I could go on but that's not the purpose of this thread and would probably just cause a fight.


Rest assured though, whatever these changes are, they will include increased taxes on us. A license 'fee' to do the government's business. I just hope that the savior doesn't try to regulate the price we can charge for a tax return under the guise of 'fairness' and not letting the predatory tax preparers take advantage of the people.


JMHO, of course.


Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
Yup. Taxes have to go up. Not raising taxes would be fiscally irresponsible. But you MIGHT keep in mind that even GWB finally decided that he had to bail out the banksters.

Growl.

"No regulations" they scream but when the bottom falls out, the taxpayer gets to foot the enormous bill.

Oh, well. It's only money and for us, anyway, it's a business opportunity...

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
Brock, you do know that the US Treasury received warrants/options to purchase common stock in all corporations receiving TARP monies for very attractive prices, don't you? And that the current value of the same is currently over $57 billion. A drop in the bucket, I know, but it has only been a few months. Once the stock market recovers those positions will be worth a lot more. Was it GWB who wanted the Social Security trust fund to be invested in the market? It appears to be a Democratic president who achieved it. Or something very like it.

Tax Lady (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
Back to the new licensing rules.

The big question is, what will happen to H&R Block? Will the new rules allow them to prepare taxes? If so guess everyone that does not qualify, meet the new regs, need to go to H&R Block school.

What about a grandfather clause for preparers who have been in it for years. Do they go out of business or go back to school or get grandfathered in.

This is nothing new. It has been on the table with for several years. I personally think it will happen.

So get out there and fight for your job!!!!!!!!!!!!

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

July 31, 2009
Yeah, hearings now...so basically all the orgs who have their own interest to protect will log in, leaving the Yoopers (Unlicensed, uncertified, professionals) to die on their own while all the org members puff their chests about their credentials and passed tests and presumed competence for the public good.

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
The Public Comment Period ends today, where you can send to the IRS Chief Counsel's Office your views of Preparer Licensing - I did and received a nice return email - thanking me for taking the time to prepare comments and to know they will be considered.

For one, I think the proposed regulations will require an EA at the minimum to prepare returns, with no provision for "grand-fathering".

If so, it sure will change the tax prep landscape.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
Pent-up,

No, I don't think so. I understand that the IRS is looking at Oregon as its model and the Oregon tests, though by no means trivial, don't deal with representation or corporate tax (yet).

Besides, OPR has already demonstrated its willingness to create limited licenses for particular communities. Look at the new ERPA license for example.

The EA is way more than most H&R Block preparers need.

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
NMexEA - The email address I have on the return email - thanking me for my comments - came from

RE: RS Seeks Public Comment for Proposals to Boost Tax Preparer Performance Standards mailed-by irscounsel.treas.gov

To address the issue "what are they thinking" the Oregon or Maryland Model or something else.

In the State of Maryland, effective for 2010 - one may hold one's self out to be a Tax Preparer unless they have a State issued license, and that takes - at the minimum an active EA License.

KeithR (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
So lets assume they choose the MD model. That means that places like Block either have to pay more because they must employ EAs or they need an EA in every office to take responsibility for each return. Either way, their costs will go up. So more people will do it themselves and would-be preparers will lose a useful training ground. Does the IRS really want that?

Personally, I can see them setting the bar at something like the H&R Block exam. In other words, a test of basic competency and (what the IRS really wants) registration.

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
Keith - I'm with you up to the part where you say, "an EA in every Block Office" ..that is a good thing - to elevate the professional standards, and there are plenty EAs to go around - 45,000 or so, how many Tax Chain Offices are there? One in each office is fine, EA, CPA or Attorney - part or full time.

As far as costs going up , that's where I lose you; so what - HRB lost big in their Mortgage Business so they raised prices for Tax Return prep.

I disagree with your conclusion - "more people will do it themselves" - clearly they can not do it themselves, so they will pay more for better qualified tax pros.

Your statement, "would be preparers will lose a useful training ground" - that is all wrong, in my view, greater licensing requirements will attract more qualified candidates, the universities and colleges will respond with training programs to fill the demand.

"Does the IRS really want that"...sure they do, better trained, qualified and licensed preparers subject to their regulation.

In my view, what the IRS "really wants" is not registration but regulation.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
I also believe the bar will be set at the H&R Block Basic Course level. Most taxpayers only need simple returns prepared. Requiring an EA in every H&R Block (etc) office would be great, but many already have EAs who either own their own HRB franchise or are employed by the corporate office to run the local branch. The same can't be said about Jackson Hewitt or Liberty. Those franchises are routinely sold to people with absolutely no tax experience. As always, there are exceptions.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
Pent Up,

Oh, okay. Well, the observation I made that IRS was looking at the Oregon model came from Kiplinger so take it for what it's worth.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

July 31, 2009
Might be easier to become an attorney and get in that way!

KeithR (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
Pent-Up, here is what I was thinking this morning but not typing. If Block had to employ EAs rather than anyone with a high school diploma, wages would have to go up. If they needed an EA to sign the return (drafted by a non-EA) that would mean, presumably, that the EA would wish to carry out some sort of review. That would push prices up as well because that EA cannot then usefully do returns within the Block model (ie, while-you-wait). Now, if prices go up, any business will lose some customers. Block customers are very price-conscious. If Block loses customers, there will be less of a need for rookie preparers. I can tell you that in my first tax season in the USA, no CPA firm would touch me because I lacked experience. The next season was a completely different story. So where, then, would the rookie get the experience? Will the colleges and CPA/EA firms work together to provide a comprehensive training program? I believe in higher education, but I also believe in proper on-the-job training.

As a long-term goal, the IRS could do worse than look to the UK and the relationship between the Chartered Institute of Taxation and the Association of Taxation Technicians.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
Block customers ARE NOT price sensative. That's why they go for the RALs - all they care about is their net-in-the pocket. Also, there are so many qualified people out there in every community (some CPAs and EAs) who charge LESS than HRB already. Why aren't their doors flooding with HRB clients instead of the other way around?

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
KeithR - I would get off the "price issue" the added overhead expense of the tax chains, in my view, is well worth the enhanced quality of preparation.

Accuracy is what the Service wants, I would venture a guess, over having the customer pay a few dollars more.

The tax market place will adjust accordingly.

Where regulation mandates an EA license or better, more talented candidates will take up the calling, and this board will be flooded with inquires.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

July 31, 2009
Maybe the real question is how much influence HR has? Let's face it, they prepare more returns than anyone, and I can't imagine, no matter how unhappy IRS might be with them, that they're going to be cut out with an EA mandate, even at the top level of the office, which we all know would become perfunctory. I'd think some sort of fairly minimal test, perhaps along the lines of what HR uses after their classes, might be the one, with no representation conferred, but Cir. 230 coverage. Mere speculating and guessing, if there's a difference.


That would actually be kind of fair as I think about it. So for sure, that won't be it!

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
My guess is an EA license with a horizon of 2-years to get it.

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
If I'm right, buy stock in the EA Journal.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

July 31, 2009
That's a pretty high bar, frankly. I cannot imagine they'd do that...but with socialism in American, anything's possible.

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
President Obama just requested 12-billion for Junior Colleges, now they can get accredited to train candidates for all the new EA jobs coming up.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
EA, hunh? Well, maybe but I see some practical problems with it.

-OPR oversees the licensure and discipline of fewer than 50,000 EAs right now. Is OPR in any position to increase the size of the task by two orders of magnitude? Again, maybe, but it would take a pretty substantial cash infusion to do it.

-Big Box preparers like HRB and JKH aren't going to be able to find enough EAs to meet more than 1% of the need. Yet, their own in-house training IS sufficient to establish at least a modicum of competence without the much larger time commitment the SEE requires.

-There are a LOT of smaller tax prep firms out there that will squeal to their Congresspersons if OPR tries to impose an unreasonably high test requirement which (I think) the SEE would be.

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
NuMex:

That's exactly the same kind of resistance Academic Lawyers faced when they organized the first accredited Law Schools in the land, same with Medical Schools and Business Schools.

I'm old enough to have known 2 CPAs who never attended college, at all.

Just apprenticed in a firm in the 1940s and sat for the exam.

Elevating Standards is part of the professional landscape, I think the issue is how fast will the Service bring it to us.

Keep in mind, the Office of Professional Responsibility is fairly new, if memory serves, maybe 3-years is all.

So, can it rapidly expand, I think so - and licensure is a big money maker for the Service, look at all the additional Preparers (sheep) to penalize and fine.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

31 July 2009
OPR is supposed to oversee all Circular 230 practitioners in their dealings with the IRS, not just EAs. They routinely sanction bad EAs, bad CPAs and bad attorneys.

Pent-Up (talk|edits) said:

3 August 2009
OPR - Press Release - when created.

IRS Establishes Office of Professional Responsibility


IR-2003-3, Jan. 8, 2003

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service announced today the creation of a new Office of Professional Responsibility as part of its ongoing modernization effort and the appointment of Brien Downing as director.

The Office of Professional Responsibility will be charged with enhancing the oversight of tax professionals. It replaces the office of the Director of Practice.

“The creation of the Office of Professional Responsibility and the appointment of a senior executive to lead the office are examples of our continuing commitment to ensuring the integrity of the American tax system and recognition of tax professionals as an integral part of effective tax administration,” said Acting Commissioner Bob Wenzel.

As Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility, Downing will lead an organization responsible for licensing “enrolled agents,” who are tax professionals who have met the requirements to represent clients before the IRS. His office will investigate allegations of misconduct and negligence against agents, attorneys, accountants and other professionals representing taxpayers before the IRS.

The new office will have more than twice the staff that was available under the previous organization. With the additional resources, the Office of Professional Responsibility will thoroughly concentrate on enforcing the standards of practice for those who represent taxpayers before the IRS as detailed in Circular 230.

“My office will coordinate its efforts with the associations of tax professionals in dealing with representatives who fail to meet the standards of professional conduct,” Downing said. “Tax professional organizations are close working partners with the IRS and they understand the problems that result when members abuse the tax system. The creation of this office is a direct result of the concerns of the professional organizations.”

Downing is a career IRS employee with 30 years in tax administration. For the past 10 years, he has served in a wide variety of executive positions. Most recently, Downing was the Director of Accounts Management in the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Division.

Patrick McDonough, formerly the Director of Practice, will continue as the Executive Director of the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries, where he will be able to direct all his efforts toward enrolling actuaries and monitoring their conduct and continuing professional education. Enrolled Actuaries are individuals who specialize in the sections of the law governing the funding of employee pension plans. The Joint Board is an independent federal body, created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and charged with responsibility for enrolling individuals to perform actuarial services for plans.

Publication 947, Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney, describes, in detail, who can represent taxpayers before the IRS and what rules apply to professionals representing taxpayers.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

7 August 2009
The Wandering Tax Pro has some ideas: http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/

I like the idea of Individual preparation vis-a-vis Entity preparation.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

13 August 2009
"Official Says EAs Will Maintain Position

Within IRS Despite Tax Preparer Debate

This came in an email from my state organization:

BALTIMORE—The head of the Internal Revenue Service's Office of Professional Responsibility told a gathering of enrolled agents Aug. 10 that she is aware of their “special position” within IRS, and that she plans to maintain “the distinction they have earned” in the current discussions over how and whether to license unenrolled tax preparers. “We have to be very cautious that we don't create an imprimatur for the paid preparer community that is seen as superior to the imprimatur that enrolled agents have,” Karen Hawkins told the National Association of Enrolled Agents at the group's National Tax Practices Institute."

PLEASE, I AM NOT TRYING TO start another EA VS CPA B/S discussion.

There was more below this in the email, including a statement where Ms. Hawkins stressed that EAs are the only ones tested by IRS and must abide by Circular 230.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 August 2009
NATP printed a Viewpoint from The Wandering Tax Pro Robert D. Flach

(is he a CPA? here is one of his statements: "To be honest, the only way a taxpayer can be assured that a potential tax preparer has any actual knowledge of federal income taxes is if he/she uses an Enrolled Agent (EA). FYI, I am not an EA. Contrary to the popular public misconception, even the initials “CPA” do not automatically indicate that the person whose name precedes them is a tax expert.")

in the hot-off-the press NATP TaxPro Journal (Summer 2009).

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 August 2009
[I think you can view the article here without being a member http://www.natptax.com/summer2009viewpoint.pdf]

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 August 2009
I have already written the NATP Journal editor with my opinion that 38 years of experience doesn't always equal competence AND that the point of ethics CPE isn't to change an unethical person into an ethical one, but to keep the ethical one from sliding down that slippery slope.

Sometimes having gone to church last Sunday is the only thing that keeps a husband from cheating on his wife, or the wife from killing her husband. Temptation is always there. It helps to be reminded once in a while.

Jimi (talk|edits) said:

13 August 2009
I read the NATP article. About ethics, "I do listen to one of the presentations maybe every other year to see if there are any new wrinkles." The whole article and particularly that made me a stronger proponent of licensing. Since it appears to affect competency, I am going to fold up my office at the bus station.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

13 August 2009
Mr. Flach is The Wandering Tax Pro linked above. That website links to a fact sheet:

http://www.taxproservicescorp.com/meetrobertdflach.htm

To be fair, the quote on ethics is taken out of context. He noted in the prior paragraph that many times an eight hour seminar that he attends will include 2 hours of Ethics, and goes on to note he attends many seminars. I am not sure his inattention is that different from those who return 30 minutes late from lunch or spend their break plus 15 minutes on the phone with their office, or, if the seminar ends at 4:30, are packing their bags at 3:50. I am not even mentioning those who open their newspaper.

And, to be honest, I'm not sure how different he sounds from our JR.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 August 2009
JR1 doesn't need to wander. He's got a respectable practice in one location. No one to run from, and no need to hide.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 August 2009
as an item of interest, thanks to my email to NATP about the Journal article, I am now corresponding with Mr. Flach. He has asked for permission to publish our discussion on his Blogspot, and I have asked his permission to publish the same here.

Jimi (talk|edits) said:

13 August 2009
D & T, I didn't think it was out of context. I agree many attendees do not give their full attention. It came across to me that he thought ethics education was irrelevant. I thought Kevin's post explained very well why all tax professionals need ethics education.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

13 August 2009
Jimi, you can't make a saint out of a heretic!

It happens ever week that I'll go into a tax office run by one of these seminar men, and see them with their coffee cup sitting on the church bulletin. They don't have the ethics to buy a saucer.

I've seen some go as far as to use an old paperback Bible, that their son or daughter left behind when they went off to college, as a DOORSTOP! Lord, it'll take more than that to keep the devil from coming through their door, but they're too ignorant to know that. And their preacher's a liberal, and won't tell them better!

All you can do is wear garlic around your neck, and carry a Cross with you wherever you go.

P.S. I did enjoy one ethics seminar, where we were served all you can eat pancakes. The subject was circular 230, so the instructor told us to run in a circle 230 times around the pancakes, and see what happened. We did, and to our surprise, syrup and butter came pouring out over the pancakes from a golden pitcher which magically appeared from the kitchen. I think the point was, if you get in ethics trouble, run around in circles till something sweet comes along to take your mind off it (which in my case, is usually a young female, and not a pancake, but I takes what I kin get!).

Anyway, the man that run the seminar got an award for teaching us without opening a book, or saying anything, which is how the public school teachers do it now too.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
Perhaps I've read Mr. Flach's Blog too long to think that he is not serious about stamping out unethical preparers. If I had to fault him on anything, it would be the conclusion where he brings up Enron CPAs, Jackson Hewitt etc. A read of this recent Justice Department news release shows the unethical come in all degrees of letters, and gender also. Sad day for EAs, CPAs and good unenrolled preparers, like so many I know.

http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/txdv09298.htm

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

August 14, 2009
The only thing I object to that I've read of his is the 50 hr CPE requirement the previous two years for exemption. It's an odd number, since societies require blocks of 8 hr days, don't they? 24 is most common I'm aware of, which would be just short.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
Mr Flach has given me permission to post our emails:

I'll put them in one by one, then link them/edit them to one conversation (if given time - I've got a client coming in in 10 minutes, so it might be done in stages).

Kevin:

I'd like to express my disagreement with the recent Viewpoint by Robert D. Flach, "License and Registration, Please" (Summer 2009 TaxPro Quarterly).

Thirty-eight years of experience does NOT guarantee competence, therefore I disagree with grandfathering in non-Circular 230 professionals if we have some type of national tax professional registration. Competence can only be measured by a test, and CPAs and EAs have already passed such a test. Non-enrolled individuals should also have to pass a test based on the types of returns for which they would be licensed to prepare. A competent practitioner would have no problem passing such a test, even with only 3 or 4 years experience. What's the problem? An incompetent preparer should not be preparing taxes. Period.

As an Ethics CPE instructor myself, I also disagree with Mr. Flach's take on an annual ethics requirement. I don't kid myself into believing that my ethics classes are going to change a 38 year experienced but unethical preparer. That is not the purpose of the ethics class. The purpose is to keep the ethical preparer from sliding down the slippery slope. Sometimes going to church on Sunday actually keeps a husband from cheating on his wife the following week, or the wife from killing her husband. The temptations are always there, but how strong is the resolve if it hasn't been fed recently? Just because it was fed 38 years ago doesn't mean it couldn't use another meal now.

Kevin C Huston, EA "The Ethics Gameshow Guy"

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
Robert D Flach:

Thank you for sharing your opinion on this important issue.

(1) I sincerely do believe that 38 years of continued unblemished experience does indeed guarantee a degree of competence. In my case if I didn't know what I was doing, and did not keep current, I could not stay in business at my current level this long. I firmly believe that proof of a commitment to annual continuing education is actually more of a test of competence and being current than a basic initial proficiency exam.

(2) If national registration and licensure of all tax preparers is to become a reality it will require the cooperation of all tax preparers. Forcing a person who has been in business for many years to take a test to be able to continue to make a living in his/her chosen profession does not encourage cooperation.

(3) As I point out in my editorial, it seems to me that it would be literally impossible for the IRS to properly administer a test to close to 1 million current tax professionals within a 6 month period.

You mention that EAs and CPAs have already passed a test. It is very true that EAs have passed an extensive and difficult test in tax prepareation and representation knowledge. However CPAs have only passed a test, although extensive and difficult, in accounting and auditing principles and practices. Passing the CPA exam does not guarantee that a person is competent in 1040 preparation.


Regarding ethics classes, I repeat that if I ain't honest to begin with listening to 2 hours at each and every CPE offering each and every year ain't going to make me 'see the light'. I am well aware of the punishments for unethical tax preparation. I doubt I would be around for 38 years if I encouraged and produced fraudulent 1040s.

I do believe that some periodical update on ethical issues, including preparer requirements and penalties, is a good idea. I have suggested one hour every other year. My main complaint is that for just about every 8 hours of CPE I pay for I get only 6 hours of actual tax knowledge.

I certainly do not wish that any new "Licenced Tax Practitioner" designation take anything away from the reputation or qualifications or credientials of the Enrolled Agent. I would not permit LTPs to "practice before the IRS", other than currently unenrolled preparers are already allowed to do. I would continue to limit "practice" to EAs, CPAs and attorneys.

My final recommendations on licensure and registration, which have evolved a bit since writing my editorial for NATP, appear in my post "Dear IRS" at http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/2009/08/dear-irs.html.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
Kevin:

I am not directing the 38 years of experience comment at YOU personally, but twelve or thirteen years ago, I purchased a tax practice from a practitioner (dying of cancer) who had been doing taxes for well over 40 years on his kitchen table. He was still deducting sales tax in the 1990's, and the IRS apparently never audited any of his clients, so he (and more importantly his clients) assumed that the returns were correct. He also deducted a flat $5 a day on the tax returns of his many bliend vendors 'who can't see whether someone handed them a $20 or a $1 bill' because he thought 'it was proper, they've already been dealt a blow, why not give them a few breaks'. There were also other glaring errors or misstatements that a competent tax pro would have noticed immediately. His 40 years experience did not translate into competence at all. His 40 years of experience without repercussion only steeled him in his abilities as a great tax professional. Some of his clients styed on with me, and many did not because they felt that 'I didn't know taxes' because the IRS had 'allowed' those deductions for so many years, they must have been correct. God bless his soul, he passed away that year after handing over his clients, for whom he truly cared.

You are no doubt a conscientious professional. You may have even attended some of the tax update classes I've taught in your area. But there are many out there who don't share our passion to help our clients while at the same time upholding the tax law. Some of those people also belong to the same national organizations that we do. Perhaps they sleep through the ethics and other sections of the class and, to be fair, perhaps they do listen to one of the presentations every other year to see if there are any new wrinkles. But a CPE certificate still doesn't show you learned anything. If each class had a test at the end of every hour, then we'd know if the important messages were conveyed or not. Now you've earned your CPE. Testing.

I don't see it as a hindrance at all for someone like you to be able to pass a test which I believe will be equivalent to the test given at the completion of the H&R Block Basic Tax Course (or similar first year preparer course for 1040 returns). And you already get annual CPE. Come on, you're whining for nothing! Admit it, maybe you just don't want to pay the fee!

NATP and other organizations have a vested interest in seeing that their members pass (or are grandfathered in to) the licensing process. I disagree that 'it takes the cooperation of all preparers'. It becomes a responsibility of all preparers.

As for the impossibility of the IRS doing anything within a short period of time, you'll get no argument out of me. In my opinion, all of the major stakeholders would be granted authority to test (H&R Block and the other chains, and the national tax and accounting organizations). Prometric has already computerized the SEE exam for Enrolled Agents. Within tow or three years they could computerize a basic tax prep test. In other words, the best way for the IRS to do it is to not have the IRS do it all. Farm it out. It won't happen in 6 months, I agree.

As for oversight, that WOULD take beefing up OPR.


You obviously missed my point about the ethics CPE. It isn't for the dishonest. It's to keep the honest honest. Just like the lock on your front door isn't going to keep out the thief. But it will keep your nosy neighbor from seeing what brand of deoderant you use while you are out in the back yard. Your neighbor of 38 years doesn't want to steel from you, he is just curious as to why your wife smells so nice. The lock keeps him from doing something he will regret later. It's a reminder not to go where he shouldn't.

You are obviously offended by having to take ethics. Well, let me let you in on a secret: right now you don't have to unless you're a Circular 230 professional. But for some reason even Circular 230 professionals need to be reminded about EITC due diligence, preparer fraud, and those things that can get them disbarred or censured. We don't want the 'good guys' to lose their ability to practice, do we?

Maybe the ethics classes you have attended are boring. I hear that often. You might want to attend one of mine. We play a Jeopardy style gameshow that's as educational as it is fun. I'm presenting it this Fall for the North Carolina Society of Enrolled Agents, the Ohio Society of Enrolled Agents and the Illinois Chapter of NATP. I've already presented it to the California Society of Enrolled Agents and the New York Society of Enrolled Agents within the past year. Next year, so far the California Socity of Enrolled Agents (for a reprise) and the Michigan Chapter of NATP have booked me. The participants always say things like 'best ethics EVER' or 'wow, I thought I knew that, but I learned so much!'. I'll send you links to the various state sites if you're interested. I'll even buy you a beer after class and we can share a laugh. Iced tea if you don't drink alcohol. Seriously.

Similarly, I teach a BASIS class to long-term practitioners who also say they thought they knew all that, but still learned something useful.

So the purpose of me responding is not to convince you out of your beliefs (I don't think I'm that persuasive), but to point out that there are many out there like me that have just as strongly held beliefs otherwise. That is what a good discussion needs, isn't it?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
Robert D. Flach:
- 

Granted the best way to judge competence and being current would be an annual, or semi-annual, exam of all preparers. But this is obviously impractical and overly excessive.

And it is true that one could sleep through or find some other way of 'cheating' CPE classes. I like how the IRS, and I believe also NATP, uses a badge scanner to record attendance at classes. However the process if flawed in that it only scans when one enters the class and not when one leaves. This procedure should be modified so that a person must scan when entering and leaving in order to get full credit.

But passing an exam is also not always a true measure of ability. Some individuals freeze up under the pressure of tests, while others can memorize facts for a short period and forget them the day after the test. And with so many people to test who is to say who is actually taking the test.

I still say that it would be literally impossible to properly administer a test for 1 Million + preparers (I include CPAs and attorneys who want to prepare 1040s in this number as explained in my proposal).

I do agree that it would perhaps be best if the IRS 'outsourced' any initial proficiency test. While I expect that Henry and Richard and the various tax preparer membership organizations would jump on the bandwagon to offer exam review classes, I would not allow them to actually administer the test. This should be done either by the IRS itself or an 'impartial' outside firm. I certainly would not trust anything administerd by Henry and Richard.

A talented instructor, as I expect you are, can make even the driest subject interesting. To me it is still a waste of my time considering the current situation where almost every single CPE event has 2 hours of the topic included. (When I complained to the NJ-NATP about this wast of time I was told that attendance would drop off if ethics were not offered). I am not offended by an ethics requirement - what offends me is that even though I am not currently required to sit through 2 hours of ethics per year I am forced to PAY for 4 to 6 hours of the topic each year.


I don't believe that ethics classes are meant to keep an honest person honest. One's degree of honesty is not determined or mainained by listening to even the best speaker. We are not talking about alcoholics or drug addicts who need constant reinforcement and support. If I really want to see what makes my neighbor's wife smell so good your telling me that this is not 'kosher' will not stop me. What stops me, other than personally integrety, is the prospect of going to jail for breaking and entering and stalking. I could compare the locked door more to practitioner penalties and existing legal sanctions rather than a lecture.


Now I WOULD attend a class on BASIS.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
Robert D. Flach:

Forgot to include this in previous email response:

A good story about the 40-year veteran. I thought I had heard everything - but the $5 per day theft loss for the blind is a new one for me!

You mentioned you bought out the practice 12 or 13 years ago. Things were somewhat different during that preparer's tenure - more FU's got past the IRS and preparer penalties were not an issue. I doubt if he would last as long today. If he was a kitchen table preparer I would not think he had lots of clients, and I expect that they were of lower income variety and not potential audit material.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
Kevin:

An idea I had last night was to quit calling the class 'ethics' all together. It really is about safeguarding your practice and income source. Staying away from the things that cause penalties and sanctions. Knowing where to find the rules when you're not sure. How to develop (and more importantly implement) a privacy policy and a disclosure/nondisclosure policy. Why an engagement letter can help both you and your client. So we could call the 2 hours 'Safeguarding Your Practice' or 'Best Practices For Your Practice' or anything like that. I believe that people do want to make sure they stay out of trouble, and the government is always changing the rules (last year's required disclosure verbiage, for example).

Thanks for the thoughts.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
Robert D. Flach:

KH -

Now that sounds like something I might sit through! Good idea. But only once during a year.

RDF


Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
Robert D. Flach gave his permission to use his email conversation with me as long as I included his link to his blog:

http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com


JR1 (talk|edits) said:

August 14, 2009
I'm with Flach, Kev. We're looking thru different sets of glasses, of course, (esp. Crow's, whose glass is filled before noon). You thru the eyes of the EA, and me thru the eyes of the Yooper (unlicensed, unenrolled, professional). And the differences might be boiled down to presumptions. Can we presume that a 38 year pro in business has a right to expect decent treatment? I think, yeah, we should presume that until or unless there's reason to believe otherwise. To require him and many many others of us to test out in order to continue what we've been doing is just big government and regulators and special interests protecting turf. Will the 75 year old guy or gal who still does 75 returns take the test? Or just give up?

I just don't think that a wholesome and cooperative profession is well served when we divide up into our little posses and begin firing. That really does not serve the public well at all. And to presume that the government is even able to 'protect the public' in this manner is rather spurious. It will pretend to protect them, but it really, probably, won't do much other than force early retirements, raise money, and add to bureaucratic joy.


Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
The link does not work, Bob. Interested readers can go to my post of August 7th, use that link and scroll down to 'Dear IRS'

I am an EA who sympathizes with JR. One reason I make sure I get my CPE credits and more is because I would not want to take the EA exam again. I've passed it twice, in 1984 and 1993, but there are so many areas of expertise in taxes that I rarely see. I know this from reading the questions posted to TA. Right now I am sitting here trying to figure out a partnership basis question from a 1065 I did not prepare so my client can try to claim the 5-year NOL.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
(note: I have edited this discussion to move all of the conversation between myself and Mr. Flach together. I hope you don't mind, JR1 and Death&Taxes. I've moved your posts to after that complete discussion. Thanks)

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

14 August 2009
Did anyone else read "Won't you take this advice I hand you like a brother" on Mr. Flach's blog? We've had so many post here about starting tax practices. This is a good link to remember.

Then go to his webpage and note that he tells the public what he does, and what he doesn't do.

I also like to scan through the links he gives in his BUZZ though usually I have found my way to them from other sites.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

August 14, 2009
I agree Kevin! Best practices for your practice, or How to protect your practice, make MUCH more sense. Ethics is so....weird. Whose ethics? Based on whose standards? Snore. Make it personal, like HOW TO KEEP YOUR ASS OUT OF THE FIRE and I'll show up.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

15 August 2009
Four or five years ago, Beanna Whitlock conducted an excellent 2 hours on 'Ethics' by using four or five situations that could have been real life, and throwing the discussion out to the audience for potential answers. The scenarios were not simple; I can recall one being about husband and wives and our responsibility to both when there is going to be a split-up. I think what she did was similar to Kevin's idea; I've also heard IRS personnel talk on Circular 230, but the session were dry.

I think some of the discussions we've had here at TA have been almost like classes that Kevin envisions (until Crow brings his minister's point of view in to gum up the works) Image:smile.jpg

Lskeys (talk|edits) said:

15 August 2009
I kind of like CrowJD "minister's point of view". CrowJD view brings a different perspective.

Tax Lady (talk|edits) said:

17 August 2009
Anyone have an estimated date of death to unlicensed preparers?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

17 August 2009
ahem, would that be 'ethical' to put all unlicensed preparers to death?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

17 August 2009
not sure what you are proposing, but I don't like it.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

17 August 2009
or maybe you're just doing a projected financial statement anticipating less competition?

Tax Lady (talk|edits) said:

17 August 2009
LOL. Just curious, anticipating more job losses.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

17 August 2009
Kevin:

Aren't you a gardener? Surely you understand the value of high quality mulch...

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2009
Even if a licensing requirement ever came to fruition [note the tie in to gardening], the unlicensed preparer will not die out but rather work for licensed specialists. They will do the grunt work while the licensee will sign the return.

Forty-five years ago, when in college, I worked for a Big 8 [there were 8 of them then, can anyone name them?] firm in their Philadelphia office. Junior accountants would join the staff out of college, work their butts off and study and eventually attain their CPA designation. Then the partners would farm out the newly minted CPAs [and they were all white men, 99% of two religions] to their clients. Yet in the staff room was Dewey, a man who'd sat numerous times for the CPA but never came close to passing, but either he was the office snitch, or from working him once on an inventory, could run the job as well as any manager, and the men who worked for him would put their heads thru walls.

Snowbird (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2009
Like most of you, I subscribe to the IRS Newswire. All the notices have words similar to " better leverage the tax return preparer community with the twin goals of increasing taxpayer compliance and ensuring uniform and high ethical standards of conduct for tax preparers" IR-2009-57

I do not see any discession in this thread on how the IRS expects to increase "taxpayer compliance." If the IRS said "increasing taxpayer compliance by ensuring uniform and high ethical...", I could understand it. However, the wording indicates two separate but related goals, therefore, it could be stated " increase tax payer compliance even with ethical competent tax preparers." Then, I believe you start to redefine our responsibilities under Cir 230 § 10.21 Knowledge of client’s omission.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2009
Dewey reminds me of the the scene in "The Producers"...

"YOU are a mere PA, a Public Accountant while I am a CPA! A CERTIFIED Public Accountant!"

"You are a CPA, alright! A Certified Public A**hole! I QUIT!"

(chorus) "Unhappy! Unhappy! Very very very very very unhappy..."

Washington State used to issue PA permits to accountants who had passed the CPA exam but didn't yet have the (then) required two years of experience to qualify as CPAs. You could take the CPA exam with an accounting diploma from a commercial business school. No degree required, let alone 150 semester hours. I wonder how Mel Brooks knew so much about the profession?

Tax Lady (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2009
Death & Taxes

So what you are saying is that an unlicensed preparer will sit down with the client and gather and prepare the tax return. The license preparer will then look over the return and sign it. Not sure that is the answer to the problem. Seems to me that anyone involved with a clients tax return should be licensed.

Compliance, code of ethics, etc should be shared by all.

Jimi (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2009
D&T, were hats required at your office? My best guess AA, AY, CL, D, EE, HS, PW & TR.

Pink Pearl (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2009
I think..AA, EE, HS, LRM, PM, PW, TR, AY

KeithR (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2009
Big Eight? Lets see... Thomson McLintock, Peat Marwick, Ernst & Whinney, Arthur Young, Deloitte Haskins & Sells, Coopers & Lybrand, Touche Ross and Price Waterhouse.

Do I win a coconut?

Pink Pearl (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2009
Arthur Anderson... Ernst & Ernst... Haskins & Sells... Lybrand, Ross Bros & Montgomery...Peat Marwick...Price Waterhouse...Touche Ross...Arthur Young. (As of 1960)

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2009
I could not remember who they were but I interned at E&E, and then Haskins & Sells. Arthur Andersen, Arthur Young, Peat Marwick, Price Waterhouse, Lybrand [before it merged with Touche Ross]. My memory is very hazy. PW was the 'white shirt required' firm.

Hats were just starting to disappear at that time. I based one of my best essay/monologues, written in 2001, on that theme; http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/276291

What I remember was the story of Bill B., a young man who studiously crammed for the exam, passed it and was very proud. He was called to the office of the head partner in the Philly office. The man, a mover and shaker in so many aspects of Philadelphia life, harrumphed a note of congratulations and then handed Bill some cash and sent him to the cigar store to fetch some more Macanudo's or Monte Cristo's.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

3 September 2009
Here is another viewpoint, and one where all are thrown into the same pot:

http://staciestaxtips.blogspot.com/2009/08/your-tax-preparer-should-prove-she-or.html

I came on this through Robert Flach's blog, but also read through several of the commenters at yesterday's hearings on regulating preparers

http://www.easybourse.com/bourse/actualite/irs-urged-to-create-federal-registry-for-tax-preparers-725505

Every time I read an account of one of these hearings, I think of Captain Renault rounding up the usual suspects, for it seems like the same people testify with the same points over and over again. So much talk, so little action. Seems to me that if more were proactive like in New York, it might scare some of the incompetents away.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

September 3, 2009
She is dead on. But the lawyer and CPA lobby will never allow their members to be tested.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

September 3, 2009
To add to the war stories: I just picked up another client that is a mess. Handled by a local CPA firm. Who made her a C corp. After five years, she has 65k in unusable NOL's at this point, the biz owes her 95k, and she's out of cash in every corner of her life. To have had the tax savings of that 65k had someone thought to make an S election might be the difference between life and death for her. And to anyone who'd say, no fair looking back, I would NEVER make a new biz a C corp, much less most any others either for that matter. It's malpractice in my opinion.


And all I can do is shake my head and wonder why.

{{ForumReplyPost|UserID=Death&Taxes|Date=9 September 2009|Text=I love this blog entry about physicians, hair braiders and tax preparation. It echoes many of the thoughts I have about easy entry into our field

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