The IRS Criminal Investigation Return Preparer Program (RPP) was implemented in 1996, and established procedures to foster compliance by identifying, investigating and prosecuting abusive return preparers. The program was developed to enhance compliance in the return-preparer community by engaging in enforcement actions and/or asserting appropriate civil penalties against unscrupulous or incompetent return preparers. This is a significant problem for both the IRS and the taxpaying public. Abusive return preparers frequently prepare bad returns for large numbers of taxpayers who, at best, are stuck with paying additional taxes and interest and at worse, depending on culpability, are subject to penalties and maybe even criminal prosecution.
In 2010, IRS launched an oversight program to regulate paid tax return preparers. Taxpayers should be very careful when choosing a return preparer. You should be as careful as you would in choosing a doctor or a lawyer. While most preparers provide excellent service to their clients, a few unscrupulous return preparers file false and fraudulent tax returns and ultimately defraud their clients. It is important to know that even if someone else prepares your return, you are ultimately responsible for all the information on the tax return.