RTRP Test Fee Refunds and IRS Tracking of Voluntary Education
Background: In January, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia enjoined the Internal Revenue Service from requiring mandatory testing consistent with the regulatory requirements for registered tax return preparers (the Loving court ruling).
As a result, the IRS discontinued testing. Many candidates have been asking whether the test fees for candidates who were scheduled to take RTRP test after the suspension of testing would be refunded.
On Friday, May 17 the IRS announced refunds will be made to all RTRP candidates who were scheduled to take the RTRP test on or after January 18, 2013 and the vendor will automatically process those refunds. Candidates whose appointments were cancelled and who qualify for a refund will receive an email from the test vendor outlining the process.
Candidates will receive $116 for each scheduled test appointment on or after January 18, 2013. The test fee will be refunded to the credit or debit card account used by the candidate to pay for the test. If the fee was paid via e-check the refund will be credited to the candidate's bank account. If the vendor is unable to credit the refund to a credit card or bank account, a refund check will be mailed to the address provided by the candidate when scheduling the test.
Refund credits should be posted to credit card or bank accounts within 60 days of the candidate's e-mail notification.
Future of the RTRP Program? Sources at the Return Preparer Officer are confident that the IRS will ultimately prevail in the appeal process. Stay tuned for future events and information.
Tracking Voluntary Education - We all know that that you cannot be a competent tax preparer without taking continuing education. The government is constantly changing the rules to deal with the economy. Plus now, so many of the health care provisions are tied to tax returns and new regulations are being issued all the time.
The IRS announced on May 15, 2013 in a notice to all education providers that it would track voluntary continuing education taken by ALL PTIN holders. This is voluntary on the part of providers and leaves it to the desecration of individual providers whether to go to the extra expense of reporting the CE of ALL students taking their courses. Being concerned about what would happen if the IRS wins the appeal in “Loving versus IRS” ClientWhys has never stopped reporting the CE of all of its students who provide a PTIN. Although nothing official has been stated, if the RTRP program is reinstated it would only make sense that credit would be granted for education taken during the program suspension.
CPA’s and Tracking Education – RPO has announced that very soon, PTIN holders will be able access their PTIN accounts and be able to see the CE credits credited to their account. There has been some reluctance on the part of some CPAs to provide their PTIN to education providers because they have no IRS education requirements. However, if they do provide their PTIN, RPO will track their education taken form IRS approved providers and they will be able to access and verify their tax education via their PTIN account. ClientWhys has been routinely reporting CPE to RPO for CPA’s that provide PTIN numbers.
Lee Reams Sr.
Lee T. Reams is the Chief Technical Officer of ClientWhys. He is also an Enrolled Agent having managed a 600-plus client tax practice. Educated as an engineer, with a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Lee left his engineering career in 1975 to expand his part-time tax practice into a full-time career.