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VOL. 39 | NO. 21 | Friday, May 22, 2015

IRS refunds $10M to tax preparers who paid to take test

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS is refunding a total of $10 million to thousands of tax preparers who paid to take a competency test, the agency announced Thursday.

A federal court struck down IRS regulations in 2013 that sought to require some tax preparers to get training and take a test. An appellate court upheld the ruling last year, saying the IRS lacked the legal authority to mandate the testing.

The IRS said about 89,000 tax preparers paid $116 apiece to take the test. The agency said it is issuing refunds to those preparers.

The Obama administration has proposed giving the IRS the authority to regulate paid tax return preparers. As it now stands, there are no federal rules governing who can charge clients to prepare their tax returns.

"The IRS remains committed to the principle that all persons who prepare federal tax returns for compensation should be required to pass a test of minimal competency and take annual continuing education training," the IRS said in a statement. "Taxpayers deserve top-quality and ethical service from all tax professionals. As part of this commitment, the IRS launched an interim annual filing season program in 2014 to promote voluntary continuing education by noncredentialed tax return preparers."

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