IRS Teams With Tax Groups to Make Choosing a Tax Professional Easier

Ahead of what has been predicted to be a particularly complicated tax season, the IRS announced a set of new resources, including an online searchable directory, to help consumers choose credible tax preparers.

With the 2015 tax filing season officially beginning on January 20, the Internal Revenue Service recently announced a host of new resources it will offer tax preparers this year.

The tax return represents one of the biggest financial transactions of the year for many Americans, whether they are getting a refund or paying a tax bill.

To help taxpayers choose qualified help and avoid “unscrupulous preparers,” the IRS said last month that, with help from several national tax organizations, it will provide consumer tips on choosing tax preparers as well as a new directory of qualified preparers scheduled to launch this month.

“The tax return represents one of the biggest financial transactions of the year for many Americans, whether they are getting a refund or paying a tax bill,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement. “Filling out tax returns accurately is critically important. Between tax law changes and tax scams circulating, it’s more important than ever for people who need professional assistance to select wisely and carefully.”

Of the more than 140 million tax returns filed last year, more than half were prepared with the help of a tax professional, according to the IRS. The new online Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications will allow consumers to search and sort through the name, city, state, and zip code of credentialed tax preparers.

Representatives from the National Association of Enrolled Agents, National Society of Tax Professionals, National Association of Tax Professionals, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and several other organizations appeared with Koskinen at a press conference announcing the new resources.

“Tax professionals are a vital link with American taxpayers, and without them we could not run the nation’s tax system,” Koskinen said. “We want taxpayers to understand the different types and categories of tax return preparers available to help them with their tax issues.”

The 2015 filing season could be an especially rough one, the IRS commissioner said at AICPA’s National Tax Conference last year.

A smaller IRS budget resulting in reduced customer service, along with potential complications stemming from implementation of the Affordable Care Act, could contribute to one of the most complicated seasons taxpayers and preparers have experienced, Koskinen said.

“All we can try to do is maximize the resources available in that January-to-May time frame to make sure that … we do as well as we can,” he added. “And ‘as well as we can’ is still going to be miserable.”


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!