David Williams, director of the IRS Return Preparer Office, has issued a Facebook “heads up” to preparers who haven’t yet scheduled an RTRP test.

“We will begin a wave of e-mails to all preparers who still have a requirement to pass the [RTRP] test but have not yet done so,” Williams’s message says. “Please, check your inboxes or Spam folders over the next 10 days for my e-mail to you. The purpose of the e-mail is to be a gentle but not-too-subtle nudge: Schedule your RTRP test today. Yes, you still have until Dec. 31, 2013. But there are 330,000 of you, 260 testing centers and 16 months left.”

Williams, who is expected to leave the IRS at the end of August (see IRS’ David Williams to Depart),  adds that preparers yet to test must:

• Schedule their test through their online PTIN account at www.irs.gov/ptin (log in and select “View Next Steps and Outstanding Requirements”);

• Study using the resources at www.irs.gov/taxpros/tests (select “Registered Tax Return Preparer test” to review a pre-test check list and study materials); and,

• Pass the test and make sure to be current with individual and business tax obligations.

“As soon as you pass the test and a tax check, you will receive your RTRP certificate,” says Williams, also acknowledging what some preparers have called “test anxiety.” “Seek out a professional tax preparation course if you feel you need to brush up your skills. Through 2013, if you take a course from an IRS-authorized CE provider, you will receive credit toward your 15-hour CE requirement.”

Williams’ post elicited a number of comments on the Facebook page from preparers. Among them:

• Several preparers who have passed the test offered encouragement to preparers who have yet to test.

• Recommendations for test-prep courses.

• Questions about PTIN requirements.

• Questions about when the IRS will post online a list of those preparers who have passed.

• Questions about the quality of questions on the exam.

• Whether having to regularly test for such positions as VITA preparer might exempt a preparer from having to take the RTRP test.

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