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What is the biggest challenge facing tax preparers today?
Rose: Congress’ lack of ability to pass tax laws during earlier sessions at the beginning of a year and not at year-end for retroactive rules. Congress reconvenes during December and may pass laws effective for the entire 2012 year on a December 26 date. This lateness affects a preparer’s ability to plan, software companies are delayed in offering up-to-date programs and the IRS cannot get its computers programmed to e-file. This is happening with the 2012 extenders.
What is your association doing to help them?
Rose: We have continual contact with members of Congress and the IRS and offer our input on a wide range of tax laws.
Why should a preparer join an association?
Rose: Preparers need to belong to an association to get the daily/weekly updates of what is happening with tax laws. Also, one preparer cannot have their voice heard, but a group of members in an association can have more power to be heard. Associations also offer networking for small tax practices, allowing them to talk to other preparers for ideas and guidance.
What should practitioners look for in an association now?
Rose: A well-known organization that continually works directly with Congress and the IRS for the benefit of each member. Review their mission statement and how it relates to the accountant and tax preparer.
Where do you see tax-preparer associations five years from now?
Rose: More communication and networking will be done through Web sites and social media for small-practitioner offices. Webinars are where CE will be taken by practitioners.
See our other Q&As with association leaders:
• The National Association of Registered Tax Return Preparers' Andy Carter.
• The National Association of Tax Professionals' Kathy Stanek.
• The National Association of Enrolled Agents' Frank Degen.