IRS Plans to Step Up Tax Preparer Regulation

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman intends to propose a comprehensive set of recommendations by the end of 2009 to ensure “uniform and high ethical standards of conduct for tax preparers” in order to increase taxpayer compliance.

Some of the potential recommendations coming out of the IRS could include a new model for regulation of tax preparers, as well as increased service, outreach, education and training of preparers, along with stepped-up enforcement to deter tax preparer misconduct.

Shulman plans to submit the recommendations to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and President Obama by the end of the year.

“Tax return preparers help Americans with one of their biggest financial transactions each year,” said Shulman in a statement. “We must ensure that all preparers are ethical, provide good service, and are qualified. At the end the day, tax preparers and the associated industry must be part of our overall game plan to strengthen the integrity of the tax system.”

The effort will initially involve a fact-finding stage, with the IRS receiving input from various constituents, including enrolled agents, lawyers and accountants, as well as unlicensed tax preparers and software vendors.  The effort will also seek input from consumer groups and taxpayers.

“We plan to have a transparent and open dialogue about the issues,” said Shulman. “At this early and critical stage of the process, we need to hear from the broadest possible range of stakeholders.”

Later this year, the IRS plans to hold a number of open meetings in Washington and around the country with different constituent groups. 

The schedules and agendas for the public meetings, will be posted on the “Tax Professionals” page on the IRS Web site at and will be communicated to various stakeholder groups.

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