The National Society of Accountants has begun providing an online webinar program to help tax preparers get ready for the Internal Revenue Service’s new tax preparer exam.

The 10-hour online course has been approved by the IRS for continuing education credits. The IRS has begun requiring tax preparers to register for Preparer Tax Identification Numbers, pass a competency test and complete continuing education courses. CPAs, enrolled agents and tax attorneys are exempt from the testing and continuing education requirements as they are already subject to such requirements as part of maintaining their licenses.

The NSA’s Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) Exam Prep Webinar Program is presented by John O. Everett, Ph.D., CPA, and Cherie J. Hennig, Ph.D., CPA, authors of the popular NSA Registered Tax Return Preparer Exam Review Course. All participants in the webinar program receive a set of PowerPoint slides that they can download, focusing on the basic rules and offering numerous review questions on each topic, along with the answers. Participants also get a set of learning handouts, diagrams, and case studies to help them visualize more complicated material. They also get access to a free PDF file download of the NSA 2012 Registered Tax Return Preparer Exam Review Course .

The course includes the following sections:

Planning for, Studying for, Taking, and Surviving the RTRP Exam
This section covers all aspects of getting ready for the RTRP Exam and actually taking the exam. Topics include adopting the right attitude, budgeting study time, "how to study" tips for each of the seven domains tested on the exam, strategies for final reviews right before the exam, and tips for surviving and thriving in the actual exam.

Filing Basics, Gross Income and Exclusions
Particpants can review the basics of filing the individual return, including an intensive review of the individual tax format, determining filing status and exemption deductions, working with the standard deduction, computing the tax, and requirements to file. The emphasis then shifts to gross income as defined by the Tax Code and concepts that are central to understanding the definition of gross income, such as the wherewithal-to-pay and claim of right doctrines. The major types of income are covered in detail, including wages, interest, dividends, Social Security, and other topics. This section also includes an intensive review of tax code exclusions to income (statutorily exempt income), special computations for certain exclusions, and exceptions to the various exclusion rules.

Deductions
This sections provides an intensive review of the myriad rules for deductions under the tax code. Deductions for adjusted gross income are examined in detail, including items such as rent-related expenses, IRAs, moving expenses, and other items. Then the emphasis shifts to an intensive examination of deductions from adjusted gross income: the itemized deductions. Detailed rules for determining deductible medical expenses, taxes, interest, contributions, casualty and theft losses, and various miscellaneous deductions are covered, including study tips and memory devices for many of these items.

Property Transactions and Tax Credits
This section includes a study of sales or exchanges of property and tax credits. Property transactions are reviewed in detail, including the concepts of amount realized, adjusted basis (including the various methods of acquiring property, such as purchase, gift, or inheritance), and recognized gain or loss. The concept of capital gains and losses is covered in detail, with several helpful examples and case studies that serve to simplify the otherwise complicated rules. The specific rules for reporting gain on the sale of a personal residence are also covered. The second half of the webinar includes a comprehensive review of tax credits, examining the Code requirements, computations, and reporting of all major credits. These include, among others, the child credit, the child and dependent care credit, the earned income credit, and the various education credits.

Filing Issues, Special Taxes, Electronic Filing, and Circular 230 Requirements
This section covers basic filing issues, such as self-employment taxes, the "kiddie tax," the alternative minimum tax, estimated tax requirements, and refund claims and extensions are covered. Electronic filing requirements are also explained in detail, including related ethical obligations. Finally, a comprehensive review of the recently-revised Circular 230 ethical and practice requirements is covered, with a focus on issues most likely to be included on the exam.
NSA members can purchase the NSA Registered Tax Return Preparer Exam Prep Webinar Program for $395; the nonmember price is $595. The 10 hours of webinar programming will be available online for viewing by May 21, 2012 and the NSA 2012 Registered Tax Return Preparer Exam Review Course is available for download immediately.

To add other NSA RTRP resources, users can visit http://connect.nsacct.org/RTRP/ for all the updates and study information, along with a free test-taking skill webinar.

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