California tax preparers (CRTPs) face new guidelines in terms of continuing education.

In an effort to protect taxpayers, the IRS has released new requirements for paid taxpayers throughout the country. California already has its own agency, the California Tax Education Council (CTEC), to register and monitor paid tax preparer activities. CTEC has followed the IRS continuing education requirements of 15 hours per year plus it has added a 5-hour California-focused course. In addition, CTEC tax preparers must pass the new IRS competency test by the end of 2013.

To comply with the new guidelines, CTEC tax preparers must make sure that their CTEC continuing education provider is accredited by both the IRS and CTEC. CRTPs’ continuing education must include 10 hours of federal tax law, 3 hours of federal tax updates, 2 hours of ethics, and 5 hours of state tax law. The course material cannot be based on IRS publications. CTEC tax preparers must renew their PTINs with the IRS and meet the CTEC October 31 renewal deadline. The new CTEC registration period starts August 1, 2012. In addition, each CRTP must maintain a $5,000 tax preparer bond. Those who fail to comply with the rules and who continue to prepare tax returns are subject to fines of up to $5,000. Consumers can report unregistered tax preparers by filling out the Noncompliant Complaint Form, which can be found on the CTEC Web site. All reports are kept confidential.

For more information, visit CTEC.org or go to the IRS Web site

  • Lee Reams II

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