On the heels of last month's Government Accountability Office study on the errors committed by commercial chain tax preparers, the legislative push toward preparer registration and licensing appears to have gained considerable traction."With the bills introduced last year and this latest report, it looks like preparer registration is on its way," opined John Hewitt, chief executive of Virginia Beach, Va.-based Liberty Tax Service. "We're going to do that internally. We've already taken steps to implement our own certification program in advance of any legislation."

S. 832, the Taxpayer Protection and Assistance Act of 2005, was introduced in the Senate a year ago and co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the ranking Democrat on the committee. Section 4 of the bill, Regulation of Income Tax Return Preparers, would require the regulation, examination and continuing education of return preparers.

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