Registered Tax Return Preparer Competency Test Information
NOTE: As of Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has enjoined the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the regulatory requirements for registered tax return preparers. In accordance with this order, tax return preparers covered by this program are not currently required to complete competency testing or secure continuing education. Read the full IRS statement.
- Read the Candidate Information Bulletin (pdf)
- Review the Test Specifications (pdf)
- Watch the Test Tutorial (be sure to practice navigating the references)
- Watch the "What to expect on test day" video
- Try the sample test questions (pdf)
- Review the study materials listed below
- RTRP Test Preparation Courses (NOTE: These are providers that have been approved by the IRS for Continuing Education purposes. There may be other organizations that offer test preparation courses.)
The purpose of this test is to identify those candidates that meet the minimum competency to prepare 1040 series returns. All efforts have been made to develop questions and answers based on general tax rules covered in the IRS publications.
To assist in test preparation, the following is a list of recommended study materials. This list is not all-encompassing, but a highlight of what the test candidates will need to know. IRS encourages preparers to go green and download electronic copies of the reference materials for study purposes. Simply click on the resource you need. Once it is open select File: Save As to save it to your computer.
NOTE: Beginning April 16, 2012 all references on the test are to the Internal Revenue Code, as amended through December 31, 2011.
- 2011 Form 1040
- 2011 Form 1040 Instructions
- 2011 Publication 17: Your Federal Income Tax
- Circular 230 (Rev. 8-2011): Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service
- 2011 Publication 334: Tax Guide for Small Business
- 2011 Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education
- 2011 Form 6251: Alternative Minimum Tax – Individuals
- 2011 Form 6251 Instructions
- 2011 Form 8879: IRS e-File Signature Authorization
- 2011 Publication 596: Earned Income Credit
- 2011 Form 8867: Paid Preparers Earned Income Credit Checklist
- Form 2848 (Rev. October 2011): Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative
- Form 2848 Instructions (Rev. October 2011)
- Form 8821 (Rev. October 2011): Tax Information Authorization
- Publication 1345 (Rev. 3-2009): Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers
- Publication 4600 (Rev. October 2008): Safeguarding Taxpayer Information Quick Reference Guide For Businesses
Scheduling a Test:
In order to take the test, you must have a PTIN. You can schedule your test directly from your online PTIN account.