IRS Statement on Court Ruling Related to Return Preparers

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

Jan. 22, 2013

Feb. 21, 2014

On Feb. 11, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the decision of the lower court in the case of Loving vs. IRS, finding insufficient statutory support for the IRS’ regulation of federal tax return preparers.

Taxpayer reliance on paid tax return preparers and effective tax administration are inextricably linked to quality return preparation. As we assess the scope and impact of the court’s decision and determine our way forward, our focus on improved competency will continue. 

Please continue to check this site for additional information as it becomes available.


On Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia 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 required to complete competency testing or secure continuing education. The ruling does not affect the regulatory practice requirements for CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents or enrolled actuaries.

On Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, the court modified its order to clarify that the order does not affect the requirement for all paid tax return preparers to obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). Consistent with this modification, the IRS has reopened the online PTIN system. On March 29, 2013, the IRS appealed the district court opinion.

In July 2013, the IRS refunded testing fees to return preparers who tested or were scheduled to test on or after Jan. 18, 2013 (the date the registered tax return preparer test was enjoined). No decisions have been made about additional refunds related to registered tax return preparer regulations at this time.