The Internal Revenue Service is asking for comments on continuing education providers under its tax return preparer regulation program.

In Notice 2011-61, the IRS invited public comments regarding the process for individuals and entities to be approved as continuing education providers. Under the IRS’s new regulatory program, registered tax return preparers will be required to complete continuing education offered by qualified continuing education providers.

Enrolled agents and enrolled retirement plan agents already are required to complete continuing education under Circular 230, the IRS noted. One of the sections of Circular 230 requires that the continuing education provider should either be an accredited educational institution; recognized for continuing education purposes by the licensing body of any state, territory, or possession of the United States, including a Commonwealth or the District of Columbia; recognized and approved by a qualifying organization as a provider of continuing education on subject matters; or  recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a professional organization, society, or business whose programs include offering continuing professional education.

The IRS may decide to require similar criteria for the continuing education providers in its new program. However, the criteria for evaluating whether a continuing education provider and its programs meet the Circular 230 requirements are among the areas about which the IRS is seeking input.

Comments should be sent to the IRS by Aug. 17, 2011.

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