The Internal Revenue Service has issued a notice seeking out businesses that have the necessary expertise to provide a registration and tracking system for providers of continuing education courses for tax return preparers, but the deadline for applying is Monday.

The Sources Sought Notice aims to determine the availability of all responsible sources that have the capability, experience, and expert knowledge in the area of implementation of annual continuing education requirements for all return preparers who are not attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries or enrolled retirement plan agents. Responses are due Monday, June 6, 2011.

Applicants can include large, nonprofit, and small businesses, such as service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged businesses, veteran-owned small businesses, and women-owned small businesses.

The IRS said it intends to award a “no-cost contract.” Vendors will not be reimbursed by the federal government for their fees, costs, or any other charges or expenses. The vendor is expected to cover its cost and any profit by charging reasonable provider fees.

The notice is part of the IRS’s effort to require tax return preparers to undergo registration, testing and continuing education requirements.

The Return Preparer program plans to begin reviewing and approving applications from continuing education providers no later than September 2011. Although individual courses will not be reviewed and approved, providers will be required to verify their qualifications as an educational provider. In addition, the IRS is considering requiring some applicants to provide a sample course for review.

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