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Continuing Education

Note: Following the Loving ruling and the failure of its appeal, the IRS is no longer requiring all tax preparers to take continuing education courses (those who need CE to maintain ongoing credentials such as the EA or CPA will, of course, need to fulfill the requirements for those designations). For more information, see "Taxpayers Defeat IRS in Appeals Court."



As part of its sweeping new preparer registration rules, the IRS now requires all preparers to take a certain amount of continuing education classes every year. Need to know how many hours you need? Or if you’re exempt? Or who qualifies as a provider? Check out the online resources below.

THE BASICS
The IRS now requires Registered Tax Return Preparers to obtain 15 hours of continuing education annually from qualified and IRS-approved learning providers. The 15 hours currently must include two hours of ethics study, three hours of federal tax law updates, and 10 hours of other federal tax law.

The CE requirements for RTRPs do not apply to attorneys, CPAs and enrolled individuals, certain supervised preparers, and individuals who do not prepare Form 1040 series returns.

For the latest news on continuing education requirements, see our Tax News section. For more in-depth IRS resources, visit the links below.

Resources

  • The IRS CE Page

    The IRS page on Continuing Education for Tax Professionals includes varied resources for providers and accrediting organizations.

  • IRS FAQs

    The Preparer FAQ page covers which tax preparers need to take CE and where to find it, recordkeeping of CE credits and whether state-issued CE credits count toward the IRS’s CE requirement. There are also FAQs for CE providers, and accrediting organizations.

  • Qualified Providers

    This evolving list of CE providers for RTRPs includes contact information and the program categories offered.

  • The Return Preparer Review

    The Return Preparer Review details the immediate history of third-party tax preparation and the IRS’s efforts to “strengthen partnerships” with this growing industry.



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