NASBA Becomes IRS Accrediting Organization for Tax Preparer CE Providers

March 2012

The IRS has established new regulations requiring all paid tax-return preparers to not only register with the IRS and obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN), but to also complete at least 15 hours of continuing education credits annually. Those must include:

  • 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. The continuing education requirements do not apply to attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents or others enrolled to practice before the IRS.

The IRS action opens a large new market for continuing education providers. There are an estimated 650,000 tax preparers nationwide, and some 400,000 will fall under this continuing education mandate. And because the IRS has approved NASBA as a qualified accrediting organization, all members of the National Registry of CPE Sponsors are qualified as continuing education providers for the IRS registered tax return preparer program.

As a result, National Registry sponsors only need to complete an abbreviated registration process with the IRS in order to obtain a continuing education provider number. To complete the process, a Registry sponsor must provide:

  • A copy of 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 (each program; program description; number of hours; audience for program; and program delivery method (Self-study, in person, on-line group).
  • A fee of $419.

The approval time for this registration process is less than 24 hours, significantly shorter than what non-Registry members will face when they undergo the full application and approval process. For more information and the steps to follow, click here.

“Most people are aware that NASBA is an accrediting organization, but they are still unsure what their next steps need to be,” explains Jessica Luttrull, CPA, Manager of the National Registry. “They know they are approved to be on the Registry, but are not certain if that means they are approved by the IRS. We explain that they are not, but that their Registry membership means a shortened registration process. They are really pleased to learn they do not to have to go through the longer, complicated approval process.”

If you are a National Registry sponsor and want to begin the IRS application to receive your continuing education provider number and have all your necessary documentation ready, click here.

Organizations who are not National Registry members will qualify for the shortened pathway to IRS approval once they have been approved as Registry members by NASBA.

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