Consumer Protection Initiative Aims to Train Tax Preparers
Continuing education is phase two of New York’s first tax preparer regulations; training is vital because 70% of New Yorkers hire tax preparers each year.
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today launched the continuing education component of New York's historic regulations to protect consumers who hire tax preparers. The training program builds on the first phase of the regulations - tax preparer registration, which began in 2010 and impacts 40,000 preparers annually.
Each year, the Department processes more than 10 million individual tax returns, with approximately 70% of them completed and filed by paid tax preparers.
The new training program will ensure that-for the first time in New York history-those who prepare taxes for others are adequately trained. The program is part of New York's consumer protection initiative to improve the overall standards of the tax preparation industry and protect taxpayers from misrepresentation, errors and fraud.
"Clearly tax preparers have a huge influence on their clients' financial well-being," said Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox. "Accurate tax returns are required to access many financial products and services, including home mortgages and college financial assistance. Prior to New York's regulations, there was no minimum education standard in place to ensure tax preparers received the training they needed each year to accurately prepare their customers' tax returns."
Preparers who complete 10 or more New York State personal income tax returns a year are considered "commercial preparers" and must complete continuing education requirements. Experienced commercial preparers take four hours of training while inexperienced commercial preparers take 16 hours. Continuing education requirements include state and federal tax code changes, standards of conduct and other critical topics.
The Tax Department today also announced that 2015 tax preparation registration is now available online: www.tax.ny.gov.
Ensure Your Tax Preparer Is Registered
Before hiring a tax preparer, consumers should use this searchable database to confirm that the individual has registered with the Tax Department if required to do so. An interactive map is also available for locating registered preparers.
Certified public accountants, attorneys and enrolled agents are subject to other professional standards; therefore they, as well as their supervised employees, are not required to register with the Tax Department or complete the continuing education requirements.
Generally speaking, all other paid tax preparers-including those employed by tax preparation companies-are required to register with New York State.
- New York is one of only four states to regulate the tax preparer industry. See our summary of the regulations.
- Governor Cuomo Announces New Regulations to Protect Consumers Who Hire Tax Preparers
Source: New York Department of Taxation and Revenue r3eleaqse at http://www.tax.ny.gov/press/rel/2014/taxpreparercontinuinged120214.htm