IRS Registered Tax Return Preparer Program

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New regulations require that all paid tax return preparers register with the IRS and obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). The IRS requires that registered tax return preparers complete a minimum of 15 hours of continuing education credits including two hours of ethics or professional conduct, three hours of Federal tax law updates and 10 hours of Federal tax law topics during each registration year from qualified continuing education providers. The continuing education requirements do not apply to attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents or others enrolled to practice before the IRS because these individuals generally must complete continuing education requirements to retain their professional credentials.


Qualified Continuing Education Providers

The IRS recently approved NASBA and the National Registry of CPE Sponsors as a “qualified accrediting organization.” As such, all members of the National Registry of CPE Sponsors are qualified as continuing education providers for the IRS registered tax return preparer program. This designation means that National Registry sponsors only need to complete a registration process with the IRS (with a 24-hour estimated approval time) in order to obtain a continuing education provider number, rather than the full application approval process.

Any organization interested in providing continuing education programs to Registered Tax Return Preparers should consider joining the National Registry as a pathway to obtaining IRS approval as a qualified continuing education provider.


Steps to Approval for Current National Registry Sponsors

National Registry sponsors interested in providing continuing education to Registered Tax Return Preparers should review the standards and procedures established by the IRS to become familiar with the program. The IRS application is available online and National Registry sponsors will need to submit:

  • The official letter from NASBA approving its membership on the National Registry
  • Program information for each program in order to receive program numbers from the IRS (for initial registration of 2012 program offerings; each program; program description; number of hours; audience for program; and program delivery method (self-study, in person, on-line group) must be entered to be assigned a program number(s))
  • A fee of $419

Steps to Approval for Non-Registry Sponsors

One path to gaining approval to offer your programs to Registered Tax Return Preparers is to join the National Registry of CPE Sponsors (which also qualifies companies to offer CPE programs to CPAs) and then follow the simple registration process the IRS has established for members of a qualified accrediting organization.  If you are interested in this path to approval, we invite you to visit our Joining the Registry section for further information and step by step procedures.  Once approved for the National Registry, you will need to follow the additional steps described above for current National Registry sponsors.