The IRS is refunding test fees to those who took the Registered Tax Return Preparer test.

The agency plans to mail “RTRP Refund Notification” letters to people who are due a refund before the end of May. Refund checks will be mailed separately, starting approximately June 2, 2015.

The IRS cited the recent federal Appeals Court decision regarding Loving v. IRS that held that the service “lacked authority to mandate competency testing for paid tax return preparers” as reason for the refunds.

Only the $116 test processing fees will be refunded. Preparers who took the test more than once will receive one refund for the total test fees paid ($116 per test attempt).

“Please allow until [Aug. 2] to receive your refund,” the IRS says on its Web page concerning the refund.

Letters and checks are being mailed to preparers’ addresses in the Preparer Tax Identification Number system. Refunds must be issued to the person who took the test.

The IRS started a new voluntary tax preparer continuing education program, the Annual Filing Season Program, in the wake of Loving. The program met mixed reviews but so far has issued almost 44,000 records of completion to preparers.

“The IRS remains committed to the principle that all persons who prepare federal tax returns for compensation should be required to pass a test of minimal competency and take annual continuing education training,” the agency reiterates on its refund page.

The RTRP Certificate is no longer valid and "serves no purpose when dealing with the IRS," the service said. Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, in order to have limited representation rights for clients, preparers need to participate in the new Annual Filing Season Program.

Those who passed the RTRP test only need to meet the original 15-hour continuing education requirement to obtain a Record of Completion from the AFSP.

Test-takers who haven’t received a due refund after Aug. 2 are asked to call the IRS at (913) 722-7606, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time.

“When leaving a message, please include your first and last name, PTIN, reason for calling, and a daytime phone number where you can be reached during normal business hours,” the IRS says on its refund page. “We will respond to you within three to five business days.”

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