The National Association of Enrolled Agents opposes the recently announced IRS hike on user fees, specifically the proposed six-fold increase in the price of taking the EA Exam.
“The IRS has repeatedly stated that the tax administration system benefits from more enrolled agents, so why on earth are they making it harder to become one?” said Robert Kerr, NAEA senior director of government relations, in a statement.
When the IRS proposed raising the user fee for the Special Enrollment Exam from $11 to $99 early this year, NAEA immediately registered its opposition. Then-president Terry Durkin requested a cost analysis of the increase.
Formal comments were submitted to the IRS in February questioning the size of the increase and asking for information on how the agency arrived at that amount. Kerr testified before the IRS later that month, questioning not only the increase but the necessity of a user fee altogether.
In March, NAEA asked IRS to respond regarding why EAs’ services cannot be “considered primarily as benefiting broadly the general public,” and therefore not subject to user fees. The Association also participated in other objections over the summer.
In late October, the IRS lowered the proposed user fee to $81.
The NAEA stands by many of the questions it asked in February. “For example, the new user fee will raise enough money to fund roughly 10 fulltime staff years. Is it possible that the agency needs 10 people a year doing nothing else but providing Special Enrollment Examination oversight?” the NAEA asked in a statement.
“NAEA accepts that the IRS is pressed for resources and that providing excellent customer service and reasonable, focused, enforcement is increasingly challenging. It proposes, however, that the service reconsider the proposed user fee increase for the Special Enrollment Exam in light of the inconsistency in user fee assessment, the appropriateness of budget shortfalls influencing user fee decisions, and the size and calculation of the user fee,” the association added.
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