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IRS Launches Tax Return Preparer Review; Recommendations to Improve Compliance Expected by Year End

IR-2009-57, June 4, 2009

WASHINGTON — IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman announced today that by the end of 2009, he will propose a comprehensive set of recommendations to help the Internal Revenue Service better leverage the tax return preparer community with the twin goals of increasing taxpayer compliance and ensuring uniform and high ethical standards of conduct for tax preparers.

Some of the potential recommendations could focus on a new model for the regulation of tax return preparers; service and outreach for return preparers; education and training of return preparers; and enforcement related to return preparer misconduct. The Commissioner will submit recommendations to the Treasury Secretary and the President by the end of the year.

“Tax return preparers help Americans with one of their biggest financial transactions each year. We must ensure that all preparers are ethical, provide good service and are qualified,” Shulman said. “At the end the day, tax preparers and the associated industry must be part of our overall game plan to strengthen the integrity of the tax system.”

The first part of this groundbreaking effort will involve fact finding and receiving input from a large and diverse constituent community that includes those that are licensed by state and federal authorities — such as enrolled agents, lawyers and accountants — as well as unlicensed tax preparers and software vendors. The effort will also seek input and dialog with consumer groups and taxpayers.

“We plan to have a transparent and open dialogue about the issues,” Shulman said. “At this early and critical stage of the process, we need to hear from the broadest possible range of stakeholders.”

Later this year, the IRS plans to hold a number of open meetings in Washington and around the country with constituent groups.

More information, including schedules and agendas for public meetings, will be posted on the “Tax Professionals” page on this Web site and will be communicated to stakeholder groups.

Related Item: Tax Return Preparer Review

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