Washington (Sept. 12, 2003) -- A majority of tax practitioners want people who prepare tax returns to be licensed, and most of those who favor licensing want the Internal Revenue Service to do it.
That's the finding of a poll of Tax Talk Today viewers, who were asked, "Do you think people who prepare tax returns and represent taxpayers should be licensed? If so, who should license them?"
While 84 percent of responses favored licensing of some sort, 32 percent said licensing should not apply to CPAs or enrolled agents, and should be administered by the IRS. Twenty-eight percent agreed that licensing should be administered by the IRS, but said it should be required of everyone, including CPAs and enrolled agents.
"If you want to get a haircut, the person who does it needs a license," said Frank Degan, a Long Island, N.Y.-based enrolled agent. "If you want your car repaired, you go to a licensed auto repair mechanic. But taxpayers share their most intimate information with someone who can open a store front and hang out a shingle."
-- Roger Russell
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