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Tax Preparer Who Won IRS Case Expects Good Odds on Appeal

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By Michael Cohn
February 11, 2013

Elmer Kilian, one of the three tax preparers who won a lawsuit last month challenging the Internal Revenue Service’s authority to require testing and continuing education of tax preparers, thinks the chances are better than even that he and his fellow preparers will prevail if the IRS appeals the case.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled last month in favor of Kilian and two other tax preparers, Sabina Loving and John Gambino, agreeing with them that the IRS had overstepped its statutory authority in setting up its Registered Tax Return Preparer program requiring all paid tax preparers to pass a competency exam and take continuing education courses (see Court Rules IRS Doesn’t Have the Authority to Regulate Tax Preparers).

Boasberg enjoined the IRS from enforcing the requirements, but the IRS swiftly moved to ask the judge to lift his injunction, arguing that it “would result in a substantial disruption to tax administration” in the midst of tax season (see IRS to Appeal Ruling Barring Licensing of Tax Preparers).

Elmer Kilian

The preparers’ attorney at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm in Arlington, Va., near Washington, D.C., contested the IRS’s motion to suspend the injunction, pointing out that tax season has been going fine for many years without the RTRP tax regulation regime in place (see Tax Preparers Contest IRS Legal Maneuver). On Feb. 1, Judge Boasberg denied the IRS’s request to suspend his ruling, but made some important clarifications, enabling the IRS to re-open its Preparer Tax Identification Number registration system as well as offer competency testing and continuing education on a voluntary basis to tax preparers (see Court Modifies Ruling Invalidating Tax Preparer Regulations).

Killan, a sole practitioner in Eagle, Wis., has been receiving regular updates on the case from the Institute for Justice. An 80-year-old Korean War veteran who has been preparing tax returns for about 30 years by hand, he has an old-fashioned wooden shingle hanging outside his office advertising his services. Killian only charges most of his 100 or so individual clients about $30 to $40, and he has a few business clients with more complicated returns for whom he charges $75. He estimates he would probably need to double or triple his prices if he had to pay the new IRS fees and buy a new computer for electronic filing.

He offered his perspective on the case last week. “The legal staff in D.C. is working on it and they said we have a better than 50 percent chance on winning an appeal when it comes up,” he said in an interview. “There was some information in the last letter I got from the lawyers. The IRS has collected over $100 million on the renewal of the PTIN numbers and their cost involved was only $50 million in that respect. It ends up that the whole thing is a moneymaking deal for the IRS.”

Kilian doesn’t see tax preparers making anywhere near that amount. “The majority of the people are just individuals who work for themselves preparing income taxes that are being stepped on the most by the IRS,” he said. “It will cost the tax preparers at least $2,000 for the training sessions and the yearly taking of the test. Along with that, if you’re not set up computer-wise for e-filing, that would come to another figure we’ve compiled of at least $3,000 for buying equipment, taking classes to learn how to operate computers, etc.. That would be just a one-time setup, but every year you have to buy the program to run through the computers to do income taxes. I know from information that I’ve gotten in the past on cost, that runs at least $300 a year for a program in that way, and you sort of go from there. We should know within another week or so whether the IRS is filing an appeal. Then the lawyers will take care of it all and go through the court system on it.”

Kilian has been closely following the media accounts of the case, as well as the comments from tax preparers both pro and con. “It’s interesting to see the comments everybody is making,” he said.

He anticipates the next ruling in the case probably won’t come out until March, depending on whether the IRS files an appeal against the latest ruling and what it argues. “There isn’t much that they can contend on than the past ruling of the judge,” Killian noted. He predicts the appeal would go to a different judge next time.

Meanwhile, tax preparers no doubt will be busy with their tax season clients. At least for now they get a temporary reprieve from the IRS’s testing and continuing education requirements.

31 Comments

Here's the bottom line......If you cannot afford the Continuing Ed, cable, software, etc, then get the he** out!!! Simple. Would you go to an unlicensed dentist if you had a toothache? No, you wouldn't. Would you let an unlicensed surgeon operate on you? Absolutely not. Should you trust your personal finances and tax liability to a hack? Hell NO!

The fact remains that most unlicensed preparers have something to hide, be it their own tax situation or criminally. Why else would anyone object to taking a test and having a background check???

The IRS will not lose as it was always Congresses intent to have ethical, competent and educated paid tax return preparers, going back to 1884 when they first came out with the EA designation. Sorry to those of you who support the IOJ, you're just scared and perhaps involved in a scheme of some sort that makes you unethical and a HACK.

Posted by: Robert D | September 24, 2013 2:46 PM

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I am one of the first to say that all preparers should get continuing education due to the ever changing tax laws, etc. I've had to fix tax returns prepared by the uneducated and of course, they charged way too much. I have a small office; I've worked in this field for over 20 years...the last 6 from my own office. I haven't been able to read all the comments associated with this issue but, if the IRS is unable to come out on top in this situation will the companies that have offered "exam training" to prepare for the RTRP have to reimburse the few that have pre-paid for this?

Posted by: judyc | February 20, 2013 2:34 PM

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I cannot believe that there are professionals out there that agree with the outrageous testing and continuing education criteria set up by the IRS. It is perfectly clear that the IRS is not doing this in the interest of the people but simply to get deeper into the pockets of all who prepare taxes, maintain more control and have another stream of money

Posted by: jmanco | February 17, 2013 2:26 PM

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I must dis agree. It doesn't matter if he fills the forms out by hand. What matters is that he is doing them correctly. I also live in a rural area (low income area). My people don't pay hundreds of dollars for me to do their returns. And yes I do e file for my clients. But it is mean you need to take/rake them to the coal. They can't afford it. I could not believe H & R prices, let alone they don't explain how their cards work. Talk about a rip off. First they gouge the client for preparing them, then charge a ridiculous price to get their money on the card. And they don't tell them their is a fee to get their off the card. I also work at a bank and explain to them the price they pay to get the money off the card. And it's not the bank charging the extra fee. People shouldn't be allowed to file their returns on line if they don't understand what they are doing. That's what were here for. I keep up the updates, but for the IRS to demand us tax prepares to pay all this money is totally un called for. Look at the ones who due false returns or the ones who don't pay the tax due..talk about who is calling the kettle black. This is sorry to say but some of our gov't people don't even pay attention to what they owe. And don't pay it ..What wrong with this picture??

Posted by: KarenW | February 16, 2013 8:13 PM

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This man must be doing straightforward W-2-type returns only because he sounds incapable of servicing those with a multi-form return. I have little sympathy for those who have chosen to live and run a tax preparation business in areas with limited to no internet service simply because it is mandatory to have that "connection" to fast-growing IRS e-services. I live in a rural area and incorporated every possible means to stay "connected" as cable slowly made its way to me.

I have respect for those elderly preparers who have put in 30 and 40 years as a preparer, but I believe preparers like this man need to retire because their refusal to stay current with the way business is now required to be done is a blatant disservice to his clients (whether the clients know it or not).

Posted by: governor | February 14, 2013 9:08 AM

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I've been in this business for close to 30 years. I pay for 40 hours of CPE per year, I have purchased computer equipment, software and whatever else I must have to keep in compliance with my profession. This is a profession, not a free for all.

While I do not live in a rural area where folks can only afford to pay $40 per tax return, I would imagine that these returns can't possibly be that complicated. If they in fact are... then I would imagine the returns prepared by someone who is not a professional, not educated and refuses to keep up with technology are riddled with mistakes.

This is what the IRS is trying to avoid. I agree with what they are trying to do. (for once). There must be regulations for those who earn a living and hold themselves out to the public to be experts in this field.

Posted by: CPAsince87 | February 14, 2013 5:23 AM

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The IRS has to do something to get rid of the tax preparers that don't have a clue on how to prepare a correct and legal return. I spend the whole summer amending these poorly or fraudulently prepared returns. Some are because the preparer did not know the latest updates and are preparing returns the same way they copied someone else 5 or 10 years ago. Some are putting EIC, Education, even mortgage interest when they do not even own a home or have any education. This give all tax preparers a bad name. There has to be update and continuing classes. No one knows everything there is just to much to know, you have to be able to research and take classes for different topics. Any tax professional that does not want to do this will never be a good tax preparer. By the way the IRS does not favor H&R Block we get our kicks also. But , the IRS knows all prepares are in training every year. We have 12 levels of tax professionals and the only way to reach another level is by taking other classes besides the required classes. A lot of other tax companies like to hire former H&R Block preparers because they know they have the best training possible. I care about my clients and all clients and they deserve to have a tax return that is completed properly with all of their income and all of their legal deductions to receive the best refund possible or the less tax due as possible. This test is not hard and if there is anyone who cannot pass it then they should not be preparing taxes for anyone. Remember a first year (new) preparer has to pass this test so how hard can it be. I know of a 94 year old woman who passed it. If you cannot keep up to date then you should not prepare taxes, period.

John L Jones H&R Block Franchisee

Posted by: worldofjones | February 13, 2013 9:30 PM

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THANK YOU MR KILLIAN,

Some of these upstarts are NOT aware that in rural areas of VIRGINIA just 85 miles south of WASHINGTON ,DC you have UNDERSERVED AREAS that don't have STATIC IP addressing for the e filing returns. VERIZON has FTTH cables running right by my office but because they are allowed to 'cherry pick' which areas they and Comcast cable will serve they choose only to run service to the school system, libraries and municipal clients and leave everyone else out. So if I WANT A STATIC IP [SECURE LINE] from VERIZON WE ARE FACED TO GET A T-1 line at 400.00 per month.Or a SATELLITE DISH which is 150.00 per month plus the 600.00 upfront equipment cost. Can your tax practice afford a 400.00 a month line item for Internet access on top of rent,tax software,and utilities. Plus continuing education that is 750.00 per annum. Then you must pass thee fees onto your client base to stay in business.Consequently you can't afford to do any personal returns; all my returns involve SCH A,B,C,D,E,F and beyond. Don't do EIC returns or EZ returns haven't done one in 15 years. However my clients have a limit of what prices should be too even if I am a MBA, and hold other title the IRS doesn't want to recognize.

Posted by: DDTS | February 13, 2013 5:59 PM

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Thank you Elmer Killian, Sabina Loving and John Gambino as well as U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg for making my clients very happy again. They were not happy going to someone else for the 2011 tax filing period. They are very happy to return for this 2012 period.

I will not be bullied into shelling out any where from $2,000 to $3,000 to Friends of the IRS...like H&R Block. Last year, I guess the IRS made up their budget short fall experienced on their Computer debacle. Now,they need to focus on how they handle their hired employees and the answers they provided to the public as well as running their own systems. I am not on the IRS payroll so I am not the IRS "first line of defense." I served the public as a former Government employee and I will continue as I have, help my clients comply with the IRS codes. This was well documented on the IRS website by my voluntary participation in the e-services program. Bulling Taxpayers does not go over well either as more are requesting a different system to fund Government services or the elimination of the IRS; Not a good idea but one we hear from the public. This is a public service, which the IRS use to respect as I was taught by regional IRS Department heads.

Posted by: flyday611 | February 13, 2013 5:33 PM

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How does this preparer know what changes have been made in tax law over the last 30 years? Hasn't he ever taken a tax update course?

The IRS wants to make certain that those who are PAID tax return preparers have at least a MINIMAL competency to do so. That is why they created the exam for the non-CPa, EA or Attorney, all of whom take more extensive exam(s) to get those designations,a nd have to comply with CPE requirements that are far stricted than what the IRS wants. Continuing Education courses can be taken for minimal cost, and even for no charge if you know where to look.

In the article, the gentleman is quoted that it will cost tax preparers upwards of $2,000 in training and the yearly taking of the test. The test is a ONE-TIME event, providing you pass it on the first try. I have to do 40 hours of CPe a year, it doe not even come close to costing me that much.

Posted by: fishcpa | February 13, 2013 8:09 AM

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Just to clarify a few comments made by my client, Elmer Kilian. He is 80 years old and not very handy with computers, so he has filed for a hardship waiver from the e-file requirements. Our lawsuit challenges only the RTRP regulations, NOT the e-file requirements. The additional costs of e-file compliance that he mentions are not part of the RTRP compliance costs considered in our lawsuit, which are still quite substantial for Mr. Kilian, particularly once travel costs from Eagle, WI are factored in.

The other two independent tax preparer plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Sabina Loving & John Gambino, do e-file returns.

You can read more about the plaintiffs, as well as the briefs filed in the case, and the latest updates, at www.ij.org/irs

Thank you for your interest.

-Dan Alban, Institute for Justice (Lead attorney for the Plaintiffs in Loving v. IRS)

Posted by: dalban | February 13, 2013 4:11 AM

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/fcc-rural-internet-access_n_1821478.html

The entire country is not wired for DSL/Broadband. For some rural people there is NO access to the internet and for others, it's satellite only or good old modem. I'm paying $70/mo and top speed is 1.0 mg with a satellite connection. The forecast for getting broadband to my business is summer of 2014. For the IRS to require efiling for people who don't have internet access is adding insult to injury. As to the post office "debacle", same argument. There are still rural locations who do actually NEED their local post office. So, I would suggest to you Governor, that you should put yourself in someone else's shoes before passing judgement. As for Mr. Killian's tax practice, I bet he knows more about filling out a tax return than most people who learned to file a tax return with software. I would also guess that most of his clients could give a flying flip about efiling their return and probably would rather not. You know the old saying about you can take a horse to water but you can't make him drink? It's probably because the horse knows more about the water than you do.

Posted by: jbetatum | February 13, 2013 12:39 AM

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I just passed the RTRP in 12/2012 and isn't there some regulation that if you prepare over 10 (or is 100?) returns for compensation, you MUST e-file? So why is this man still doing only paper returns? Also I didn't pay one penny for my CPE credits. I took a lot of courses free through IRS webinars. I also worked last season for a large tax preparing service and they provided lots of free classes.

Posted by: JSS | February 12, 2013 10:24 PM

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SNAFU: Government is not the problem! Economics and technology have driven change! We ask the public and private sectors to do more with less, so they innovate to do so. Using electronic deposit for paychecks is prudent. Why pay to mail something that doesn't have to be mailed just to keep people working jobs that are no longer needed? I pay for anything possible electronically. I communicate 99 percent of the time electronically. The postal service is no longer viable as it is organized today. Three days of delivery is more than enough.

Posted by: governor | February 12, 2013 4:45 PM

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tonya030

I think you have the right idea.

Posted by: SNAFU | February 12, 2013 2:45 PM

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There are increases of fraud, and notices. Fraudulent returns with fraudulent refunds. Identity Theft. These increases say to me a common tax preparer with returns from w-2 to serious security and GAAP financial statements and Corporate Returns. "Close the loophole on taxpayer prepared returns. IRS and licensed tax practitioners can prepare only"

"No more returns prepared by non licensed or persons who do not have continuing education."

"3 levels of tax practice. W-2, 1099, 1040 1040ez, should have minimal testing, yes these could be $30 returns"

Second Level, "where schedules A,B,C,E are required"

Third Level "specialized returns, corporate, parent company, K-1 procedure, "

All should be required for ethics and practices, all should be required to pass the Individual, then there should be other exams and continuing education required.

If fraud is identity theft, or EIC problems, then by all means whatever is the problem must be treated with continuing education and or testing.

No, I do not think that doing returns for 30 or 40 years and hanging a shingle makes you any more knowledgeable than a person who is taking exams, and continuing education. This is why I am taking the Enrolled Agent Exams. I want to serve my clients the best I can, and I don't mind going out on a limb, I just need to be certain which side of the limb I am on, and that fellow tax preparers takes continuing education and testing.

Posted by: sallyannehaydon | February 12, 2013 1:48 PM

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I salute you Mr Killian, the IRS likes to be pushy. As an old Preparer of some 60 years, keep it up.

Posted by: john@tbpm.net | February 12, 2013 1:47 PM

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As for Mr. Killian's I admire his perseverance and if he has clients that trust him with their taxes they must know that he keeps up with the laws regarding the returns he prepares. If at his age, his mind is still that sharp, than good for him! I don't think the IRS had him in mind when it decided to over extend their power.

Governor, As for the Post Office, the only reason they are in trouble is because of the very Government who owns the entity. Who do you think is taking Revenue away from the Post Office by mandating that we e-file everything? By mandating that the Government' employees receive the pay check direct deposited? I am sure that in the next couple of years the refunds will be mandated to be direct deposited and the tax due is going to be mandated to be directly withdrawn form your checking account! This year the Government told those who receive Social Security to open a Bank account if they wanted to receive their SS checks! How's that for telling you what to do?? But, put that aside, ask yourself this question: "who is loosing major Revenue as a result of all those mandates? It doesn't take a Rocket scientist to figure it out.

Again, the government causes the problem and than it tells you it wants to help you fix it Of course, when the government tries to fix anything we know people are going to be hurt...In this case the Postal Workers who will probably end up loosing most of their pensions because when the Post Office will be privatized, and it will after the government completely bankrupts it, no private entity will want to assume so much liability. Same story, different scenario, over and over again. You are right. "Stupid is as stupid does" and I am not talking about the tax payers!!

Posted by: SNAFU | February 12, 2013 1:20 PM

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I want everyone to put me on the IRS advisory board to fix this problem. Here is what I want to do. Keep the PTIN system at no charge to preparers. Require the exam process to establish competency and the fee is okay to cover costs of testing. Everyone required to take the exam. This should include all those who prepare taxes for a fee and this list includes: Attorneys, CPA's, volunteer preparers, and employees of firms that prepare taxes such as H R Block.

Even though the IRS may or may not be in violation due to their lack of authority to create the program they made one big mistake and that was caving in to lobbyists who pressed for exemptions from the process.

Any of us who prepare taxes should welcome the testing process. The fraud and poorly prepared returns have an impact on all preparers and taxpayers. The IRS loses lots of money from fraud. But, with that aside, I need to clarify why "testing for all". First, attorneys. I know attorneys who never did an income tax in their lives. But maybe if a client comes in with his taxes he may decide to do it for them. CPA's; I know CPA's who never did a tax return; they work for large corporations doing spreadsheets and cash flow stuff and the like. For employees of large firms if you prepare a tax and a fee is paid to the firm you also need to pass the exam.

Finally, no one should have any objection to what I have mentioned above. No matter what your occupation you should welcome anything that will substantiate your credentials. If you take pride in what you do as a tax preparer there should be no objection.

I have no pity for those who do not efile or do not have a computer or they do their returns by hand. Times change over the years and the greater majority of us have prepared for new regulations, software, education etc. which is something required in a walks of life and occupations.

I know there are mixed emotions on this entire subject. There are those who are professionals such as attorneys or CPA's; there are those who have not yet take the RTRP exam; and there are those who are EA's and RTRP's who possess some form of credibility and distinction for having secured the credentials as prescribed by the IRS. So, the bottom line is I hope the outcome is one which will be of the most benefit and satisfaction to all of us regardless of personal motivations.

Posted by: tonya030 | February 12, 2013 12:51 PM

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Hoorah for Killian! When ever one of you want to slam this man for his service, think about going to a town of less than 2000 residents, and open your tax practice. See how many of the residents can handle a $ 100.00 or $ 200.00 tax prep fee. I have been practicing in the Chicago area for over 40 years. I have handled over 50 audits during that time, never once with a change. I am not a CPA, nor do I think, from what I've witnessed over the years, need to be. I get my CE from experience, and five publications delivered via e-mail per week. I stay abreast of the changes in the tax law, compliments of our Congress, to be on top of my game. And my clients appreciate it. They didn't appreciate the approximately 15% increase in costs for preparation last year, due to the increased cost to e-file, but I did give them the name and address for their Congressional representative to complain to. And all this for what, to weed out the few bad apples in the mix? There's bad apples in every profession, and that includes your CPA's & Attorneys, who by the way, weren't required to take the exam. It was just another of the "feel good" news items our government spends their time on, instead of the real problems they should be concentrating on, like a 16T deficit and over spending.

Posted by: PAT | February 12, 2013 12:42 PM

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The IRS is not ever going to get rid of fraudulent returns as long as the common tax payer can do their own taxes on line or with cheap tax program they can buy at the store. There is nothing stopping them from doing a fraudulent return. They do not know tax laws and they just change there amounts to make the most refund as indicated as they go along. They can put in the W-2 information as given yes but what about the rest of it? I have heard many people tell me how they do it with a well-known off-the shelf program or on line and just watch what the refund is and change what they put in accordingly.

The Tax preparers that are reputable do take courses every year to keep up with the tax law and changes. They feel like they have an obligation to their clients to do a good legal return and give them every credit and deduction they are legally qualified to receive. If the RTRP was voluntary I feel most of us reputable preparers would take it. They don't necessarily want to be an EA but do want to be separated from the preparers that do not keep up with the laws, don't do a good return that the rest of us have to either amend or the people end up paying penalties when and if caught. CPE credits do not cost that much that if we care about our work and and clients that we can't spend $500 a year. Chalk it up to expenses of doing business, just like the programs we buy each year for professionals. That is what we are, Professionals.

Let's face it, some people think all they have to do is buy a tax program and it will do all the work for them. But garbabe in- garbage out. There is more to doing taxes than just buying a cheap program. You have to know what you can take and what you can't. And where to put it on the return. If you have a 1040EZ return, fine. You can do that on line. Let's stop selling those cheap tax programs that allow these people to do a fraudualent return. Some are intentional and others are just because they don't know any better and don't realize they are doing a fraudulent return.

Posted by: foxy44 | February 12, 2013 12:24 PM

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I recently heard from a reliable source that volunteer preparers do not have to put a PTIN on the returns they prepare or keep any documentation for the Earned Income Tax Credit. I have heard that the accuracy rate for these returns is 49 percent. I think the Federal Government might want to give this area some attention.

Posted by: bhtax | February 12, 2013 12:03 PM

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WOW, I gave up doing returns by hand many years ago however if the gentleman wants to do it that way then it should be his option so long as he keeps current on the tax laws.

I prepare taxes in California and have been required to take continuing CPE for many years. This requirement along with much study on my part has kept me current with new regualtions.

The fault I have with the IRS regulations are two: First I do not think they should be making huge profits on the PTIN registration. I have had a PTIN number for many years but suddenly it costs $63 per year to renew and keep the same number. As this function takes all of 3 minutes to complete on the computer what is the justification for the price they are suddenly charging.

Second you would think the IRS would have given some credit to those of us who live in states that allready require CPE. But no they are th big dog in the kennel and wield the big hammer.

Posted by: haltreba | February 12, 2013 12:01 PM

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I seriously wonder where Elmer Killian or his attorneys are getting their information on CPE cost and tax preparation program costs. Apparently they are taking high numbers and not shopping. I am a 60 year old tax practitioner and have been in business for 28 years and have never paid more than $500.00 for 15 hours of excellent quality CPE in a year or paid over $1500.00 for an excellent tax preparation program. In fact I routinely take over 20 hours of CPE a year average for that $500.00 amount.

After reading the reasons for the lawsuit; noting information concerning the 3 tax preparers who brought this lawsuit all I can say is that maybe it is time they step down and just retire. The world of tax preparation moves onward and thay are doing a grave disservice to their clients by not keeping up with current standards in electronic tax preparation.

Posted by: mekaup | February 12, 2013 11:19 AM

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Mr. Killian, THANK YOU........

Posted by: hjubran | February 12, 2013 11:02 AM

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Unfortunately, Mr. Killian is a good example of why there should be a minimum education and registration requirement for tax preparers. Although I do appreciate his desire to serve his clients as he has for the past 3 decades, I realize that our industry has changes significantly since I began almost 40 years ago .Today's practice requires continuing education to stay current in ever changing tax law and computer software to aid the preparer in compiling and e-filing the required forms. If our profession is to be taken seriously, and not be a haven for "second job-seasonal preparers" and kitchen table practitioners, the recently overturned requirements should be reinstated or allowed by Congress, and extended to all preparers, including those working for the large tax prep offices.

Posted by: Tkirks | February 12, 2013 11:01 AM

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Maybe I didn't express myself more clearly on the postal issue. As one who has used the postal service for business and professional purposes over the years, I've seen firsthand how e-mail and social media have changed the game, as well as the increasing frequency of using electronic payment services. Watch your mail each week and you'll note that Tuesday mail is almost always bulk rate with very little first class mail. Friday and Saturday mail reflect similarly. If two days were eliminated, 90-plus percent of homes and businesses wouldn't notice. I really don't care what the postal service pension issues are. It's theirs and Congress' responsibility to deal with it. But I do resent having taxpayer dollars pay for unacceptable annual losses (and don't give me the garbage about no taxpayer dollars being used when we both know they flow through).

And as far as Mr. Killian's clients are concerned, how much do you want to bet they could complete their returns using an online preparation website since those returns are mostlikely very straighforward. I also wonder how Killian is filing those returns if he isn't using eFile as mandated (remember, every state now has eFile mandates also). Wonder if he's signing those returns like a reputable preparer does.

Posted by: governor | February 12, 2013 10:53 AM

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If you look at this issue from a broader perspective and that is regulating versus keeping the incompetent or fraudulent tax preparers: what is more important? I believe keeping the system free from all the bad influences as possible should be our main concern. Thirty years ago we didn't have the internet and returns were done manually for the most part. The internet is such a bottomless pit for potential trouble I believe tightening the preparer standards is only a first step in the war against fraud and abuse.

Posted by: luke@tmr | February 12, 2013 10:46 AM

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governor:

Apparently, Mr Killian's clients have decided they are receiving adequate service. The IRS and their "system" got a little carried away when they started making up their own law, which is constitutionally impermissible.

I thank Mr Killian for his service, and congratulate him for rendering reasonably priced services that help his clients. He's competing, unlike our general government.

Posted by: MikeCPA | February 12, 2013 10:39 AM

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Actually, governor, I agree with your first comment about the preparer not being up with the new regulations, i.e., e-filing, but the second comment about the post office is woefully uninformed. The reason the PO is strapped is because congress is making them prepay a 75 year pension obligation over the next 10 years. This from Firedog Lake: At the heart of the matter is a 2006 Congressional mandate put on the US Postal Service contained in the "Postal 'Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006" to pre-fund healthcare benefits of future retirees, a 75 year liability over a 10 year period.' Here is the entire article which covers it very well: http://my.firedoglake.com/mmonk/2011/08/19/the-pre-funding-mandate-bringing-down-the-american-postal-workers-union/. It is just another way to put a government (quasi) service out of business so that a private business can pick up its profitable parts and dump the rest--i.e., walk around mail, remote delivery, etc.

Posted by: girlcousin | February 12, 2013 10:26 AM

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If this man doesn't offer eFile, prepare returns using software, and doesn't keep current with tax law changes via CPE, his clients are not receiving adequate service and he's incapable of dealing with the IRS system. I am especially concerned for his "business clients." Without a computer with internet access, how does he ferret information from IRS.gov and related state websites? How does he research and substantiate deductions? Obviously, at the rates he charges, he can't afford a tax guide service.

This reminds me of the postal service debacle where people insist they can't do without mail delivery six days a week even when they know it is costing taxpayers $21 billion a year. The same ones who refuse to have an e-mail address even when they know it will save them hundreds of dollars in postal fees each year. As Forrest Gump says, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Posted by: governor | February 12, 2013 9:11 AM

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