Washington, D.C. (May 31, 2012)
By Jeff Stimpson
As more and more providers gear up to meet testing and education requirements for the new RTRP designation, new questions the IRS FAQ page for Registered Tax Return Preparers tackle a pair of subjects regarding CPE that are growing in popularity.
• “How can I ensure that I receive credit for the programs that I take?”
The IRS advises:
1. Attend a program from the IRS’s list of approved CE providers;
2. Give the provider your correctly spelled name and PTIN, double-checking that the PTIN you provide matches the PTIN in your welcome letter or online PTIN account; and,
3. Know that CE programs attended will not immediately show up in your online PTIN account.
• “I want to take a test prep program, but there isn’t an approved provider in my area. What do I do?”
The IRS replies that its above-linked public listing displays cities and states where the CE organization is, but that this does not necessarily indicate where programs are offered. To see if a provider (the listing gives contact information for several dozen) offers programs in your area, visit the Web site of the individual CE organization. There are also self-study and group Internet programs.
Previously posted responses to questions also mentioned that approved providers may also show an “IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider” logo, and that all providers are issued a Provider Number from the IRS.
Beginning in calendar year 2012, all Registered Tax Return Preparers and RTRP candidates must obtain 15 hours of continuing education annually. The programs should include two hours of ethics, three of federal tax law updates and ten of other federal tax law.
Earlier questions posted to the page cover whether state-required CPE credits apply toward the IRS’s education requirement for RTRPs; recordkeeping requirements (preparers must keep for four years the name of the CE provider organization, the place of the program, the title of the program, the approval number received for the program, and a copy of the program content, among other records); and the ineligibility of credit for CE taken prior to obtaining a PTIN number.
Other recent questions and answers cover how CE providers report individual certificates of completion of programs to the IRS (the service plans to eventually make these accessible to individuals through online PTIN accounts, and how takers of CPE who have the two hours of ethics and three hours of tax updates can count excess hours in ethics and/or federal tax law updates toward the 10-hour federal tax law requirement.
Potts’ Taxes CPE and Steven E Potts, JD EA USTCP are an