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Paid Tax Return Preparers: In a Limited Study, Preparers Made Significant Errors

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) authority to regulate the practice of representatives before IRS is limited to certain preparers, such as attorneys and certified public accountants. Unenrolled preparers—those generally not subject to IRS regulation—accounted for 55 percent of all preparers as of March 2014. In 2010, IRS initiated steps to regulate unenrolled preparers through testing and education requirements; however, the courts ruled that IRS lacked the authority."
Date: April 8, 2014
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electronic Tax Return Filing: Improvements Can Be Made before Mandate Becomes Fully Implemented

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) goal is to receive 80 percent of all major types of tax returns electronically by 2012. Legislation passed in November 2009 supports the 80 percent goal for individual income tax returns by requiring tax return preparers who file more than 10 individual returns per year to file them electronically, or e-file. In 2009, IRS electronically processed nearly 95.5 million individual tax returns, or roughly two-thirds of all individual tax returns filed. IRS estimated that it saved $3.10 for each e-filed return that it did not have to process on paper. If the remaining paper returns had been e-filed, IRS could have saved about $148 million in processing costs for 2009 alone. In addition to reducing costs, e-filing provides higher accuracy rates, improved convenience, and faster processing and refunds for taxpayers. Furthermore, IRS officials said that having increased information available electronically could improve the effectiveness of IRS's compliance programs and bring in additional enforcement revenue. Congress asked us to review IRS's implementation of the e-file mandate. In response to this request, this report assesses IRS's initial implementation of the mandate. It also provides our assessment of (1) the expected effect of the mandate on electronic filing rates and (2) early mandate implementation issues that could affect IRS's administrative costs, preparer burden, or rates of electronic filing. We plan to issue a related report this summer that provides additional information on IRS's implementation efforts and its use of electronic data."
Date: March 7, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Paid Tax Return Preparers: In a Limited Study, Chain Preparers Made Serious Errors

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Despite the importance of paid tax return preparers in helping taxpayers fulfill their obligations, little data exist on the quality of services they provide. Paid preparers include, for example, enrolled agents, who are approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) once they pass an examination on tax matters or demonstrate past IRS employment experience, and unenrolled preparers, who include self-employed individuals and people employed by commercial tax preparation chains. GAO was asked to determine (1) what the characteristics were of tax returns done by paid preparers, (2) what government regulation exists for paid preparers, and (3) what specific issues taxpayers might encounter in using paid preparers. To do its work, GAO analyzed IRS data, reviewed paid preparer regulatory requirements, and had tax returns prepared at 19 outlets of several tax preparation chains."
Date: April 4, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department