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FAQs: Attorney and CPA Continuing Education Requirements

1. Attorneys and certified public accountants in some states are not subject to continuing education requirements. Does this impact the IRS exception for those individuals? (posted 1/22/10)
No. The lack of continuing education requirements for attorneys or certified public accountants in a specific state will not impact the exception. The IRS does not require attorneys and certified public accountants to complete continuing education.
However, as stated in the Return Preparer Review report, the IRS believes that all tax return preparers have an obligation to stay current on the tax laws and continuing education serves to help individuals remain current and to expand their knowledge within their field of expertise. Such courses are important to tax administration given the complexity of the tax laws and the frequent changes made to the Internal Revenue Code and the rules and regulations implemented to assist in the administration of the Code.
The IRS will consider requiring continuing professional education from additional individuals if data is collected in the future that identifies such a need. Additionally, the IRS plans to reach out to licensing authorities to encourage them to support annual continuing professional education that includes federal tax law topics and updates and ethics for those individuals who are licensed by them and who prepare federal tax returns.

2. How do I know if an IRS approved continuing education program will also meet my state licensing board or other accrediting organization’s education requirements? (posted 5/17/12)

IRS continuing education programs are approved for EAs, ERPAs and RTRPs. Tax professionals with other credentials (e.g., CPAs and attorneys) should inquire with the provider about whether their programs are also approved for other types of credit. You can also check with your state licensing board or other accrediting organization to determine if an IRS approved continuing education program meets your other CE requirements.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 03-Feb-2014