DRS: STATE STANDARDS FOR COMMERCIAL TAX PREPARERS BEGIN

State of Connecticut

Department of Revenue Services

MEDIA release


450 Columbus Blvd.

Hartford CT 06103

Tel. 1-800-382-9463 in state, or 860-297-5962

Contact: Jim Carson

Tel.: (860) 297-5613

Email: james.carson@po.state.ct.us

DRS Home Page: http://www.ct.gov/DRS

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For Immediate Release:

October 13, 2017

 

STATE STANDARDS FOR COMMERCIAL TAX PREPARERS BEGIN

“Taxpayers Deserve Basic Protections,” says Commissioner Sullivan

 

On October 1st, new state standards for commercial tax preparers went into effect.  The new state law will protect taxpayers from unfair business practices and assure that income tax preparers are qualified.      

 

Said Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan, “This was a major initiative for us and long overdue.  Connecticut will now provide the most comprehensive standards for commercial tax preparers of any state.  Every tax season, taxpayers use commercial tax preparers for income tax filing.  Until now, there have been no standards of practice and no one even knows who is providing income tax preparation in Connecticut.  Most taxpayers get good service from reputable preparers at a reasonable cost, but far too many do not.  In fact, we are seeing increased evidence of preparer error, unfair practices and even fraud.”

 

The new law goes into effect over the next three years, starting with consumer practices.  Tax preparers can no longer allow taxpayers to sign off on blank forms, charge excessive fees for refund anticipation loans, fail to return taxpayer documents or not include the preparer’s identity information. Tax preparers are prohibited from requiring that refunds be sent to the preparer, loaded on a specific debit card or involve any commercial tie-in.  See Tax Preparer Standards of Conduct Special Notice SN 2017(8 ).

 

Before the 2019 tax season, commercial tax preparers must also obtain a renewable two-year state permit based on evidence of at least high school completion, an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued preparer tax identification number and sufficient experience, education or training in income tax preparation. 

 

By January 1, 2020, income tax preparers must also complete an already available basic course offered by the IRS.  Tax preparers who are already regulated – including accountants, attorneys, individual enrolled agents, and IRS qualified volunteers – are exempt from the new registration requirements. 

 

Other future requirements include a standard consumer disclosure of preparer qualifications, services and fees, estimated cost of services to be performed and assurance of encryption or other security measures to protect taxpayer personal identity, financial, and tax record information.    

 

Added Jim Horan, head of the Connecticut Association for Human Services that strongly advocated for the new legislation, “Most filers believe that anyone charging to prepare their taxes must be qualified, but in fact there are few state or federal regulations.”

 

For further information on this new law, call the DRS toll-free at 1-800-382-9463 from outside the greater Hartford area, or call 860-297-5962 from anywhere.

 

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Content Last Modified on 10/18/2017 11:15:01 AM