The Internal Revenue Service is moving into the second phase of its tax preparer regulation initiative by beginning next week to schedule the first competency tests for tax preparers.

The IRS said Tuesday it is launching the new competency tests for Registered Tax Return Preparers as part of a larger initiative to increase its oversight of the tax prep industry. Last year, in the first phase of its efforts, the IRS required all paid tax return preparers to obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number. Those tax return preparers who currently have a valid PTIN and are required to take the new test will have until Dec. 31, 2013, to pass the test. The third phase will involve continuing education.

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