Washington (Feb. 10, 2003) -- Although more than 50 percent of Americans pay a tax preparer to complete their income tax returns, most preparers are not required to meet minimum standards of competency, said National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson.

In her report to Congress, Olson outlined a proposal to require all persons (other than attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents) who prepare more than five federal tax returns for a fee to register with the Internal Revenue Service. All such persons would be required to pass an initial examination testing technical knowledge and competency to prepare individual or business tax returns, with annual refresher exams each succeeding year.

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