The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an important ruling last month. In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel upheld a lower court’s 2013 ruling that could potentially affect many Americans this tax season.
More About the Decision
The decision affirmed that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not have the authority to impose test taking or continuing education requirements on tax preparers. In other words, the IRS lacks the statutory, or legal, authority to regulate tax-return preparers.
The case stems from IRS rules issued in 2011 that imposed standards on tax preparers who were not certified public accountants, attorneys, or agents licensed to practice before the IRS. Reportedly, hundreds of thousands of other types of tax preparers prepare taxes for millions of Americans annually. The IRS rules attempted to require these tax preparers to complete an initial certification exam and 15 hours of continuing education every year. However, the Court ruled that the IRS lacks authority to regulate these tax preparers.
The IRS and the Obama Administration did not immediately indicate whether they would appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court. A representative from the Justice Department allegedly expressed disappointment with the ruling and indicated that the government was weighing its options.
Why You Need to Know About This Ruling Right Now
This is an important ruling for individual taxpayers in Tulsa, Norman, Oklahoma City and around the nation. If you hire someone to prepare your 2013 taxes, it is important to be careful about which tax preparer you trust.