Tax prep chain Jackson Hewitt said that one of its tax preparers is among the first to receive the IRS’s new designation of Registered Tax Return Preparer.

Several thousand tax preparers from across the U.S. took part in the IRS's initial testing cycle, and the first successful test candidates have been identified. The IRS plans to meet with a select group of these tax preparers, including one from Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, to hand deliver the first round of Registered Tax Return Preparer certificates. Going forward, the IRS will conduct an annual testing cycle to provide paid tax preparers with the opportunity to achieve the required certification.

"Jackson Hewitt commends the Internal Revenue Service for developing best practices to ensure quality and consistency across the tax preparation landscape," said Jackson Hewitt Tax Service president and CEO Philip H. Sanford in a statament. "At Jackson Hewitt, we welcome and embrace the new tax preparer requirements. They are good for taxpayers and promote professionalism across our industry. We have long been committed to maintaining our own high level of tax preparer education, training and competency standards, including testing. We will continue to partner with the IRS to create, implement and monitor training and compliance measures throughout the industry."

In connection with the IRS rollout of the certifications, Jackson Hewitt will take part in a special event on Thursday, March 15, 2012. The Jackson Hewitt office at 4824 W. Forest Home Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will receive a visit from Kimberly Rogers, program manager of return preparer suitability at the IRS’s Return Preparer Office, who will personally congratulate tax preparer and franchise owner Todd Kirchenberg on passing the test and securing this significant credential.

"We are honored that one of our talented tax preparers, Todd Kirchenberg, was selected for this in person IRS visit to deliver the Registered Tax Return Preparer certification," said Sanford.

All paid tax preparers who are not CPAs, attorneys, or enrolled agents must meet industry-wide standards and competencies by testing to become a Registered Tax Return Preparer.

While Jackson Hewitt said it supports the new IRS requirements, the company noted that it has had its own standards in place for several years to ensure up-to-date tax knowledge, along with mandatory ethics, fraud and financial compliance training.

Under the new requirements, certain paid tax preparers must pass the competency test by Dec. 31, 2013. Once they pass, they must complete a tax compliance check. In addition, preparers must complete annual continuing education and obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number, for which an annual renewal is required.

The initial phase of the Registered Tax Return Preparer test contained 120 questions. Individuals who passed the test and the subsequent compliance check will receive their certificate, which allows them to use the title 'Registered Tax Return Preparer.'

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