Most members of the public want tax preparers tested and licensed -- and want maximum transparency in preparers' fees, according to a survey from the Consumer Federation of America.

In the wake of four states enacting paid preparer reforms, the licensing and regular testing of preparers and proposals for upfront fee disclosure, and with similar rules having been proposed and considered at the state and federal level, the CFA surveyed slightly more than 1,000 American adults "to better understand the public's support for these policies."

Among the findings of the survey:

  • Four out of five of those surveyed support requiring paid tax preparers to pass a test administered by the government.
  • An even larger number (83%) support paid preparer licensing requirements administered by a state agency that would also accept and resolve complaints and enforce consumer protections.
  • Almost nine out of 10 support requiring preparers to supply an upfront list of fees "as tax preparation is a rare industry where prices are often not given up front before the work is done."
  • More than half (56%) believe paid preparers should have special training but don't need a degree; 31% believe paid tax preparers should have a college degree in accounting.