AICPA Sues IRS Over “Voluntary” Program For Preparers
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has filed suit against the Internal Revenue Service and John A. Koskinen, in his capacity as Commissioner of the IRS, seeking declarative and injunctive relief from the IRS’s recently issued rule entitled the “Annual Filing Season Program” (“AFS rule”).
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit invalidated a nearly identical IRS rule earlier this year, noting that the IRS lacks statutory authority under 31 U.S.C. § 330 to regulate unenrolled tax return preparers.
The IRS claims that the new program is voluntary, and is therefore not the same as the mandatory program ruled invalid by the court. AICPA, for its part, says the new rule is defacto regulation. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, says that the AFS rule represents a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551-706 (“APA”) and an impermissible end run around the decision of the courts in Loving vs. IRS.
In 2011, the IRS adopted regulations requiring unenrolled tax return preparers to pass a written examination consisting of 100 scored questions, pass a character and fitness assessment, and complete 15 hours of continuing education training each year. See 76 Fed. Reg. 32,286, 32,290 (June 3, 2011); Internal Revenue Serv., Registered Tax Return Preparer Test: Candidate Information Bulletin, at 4 (Apr. 16, 2012), at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/rtrpcandidateinfobulletin.pdf. This rule was invalidated in Loving.
AICPA has asked the court to deem the program illegal and vacate its implementation.
Source: AICPA at http://www.aicpa.org/Advocacy/Legal/DownloadableDocuments/AICPA_v_IRS.pdf