H&R Block backs IRS announcement of voluntary certification for tax preparers

June 26, 2014

Kathy PickeringFrom Kathy Pickering
Executive Director, The Tax Institute at H&R Block

Today, the IRS commissioner announced plans to implement a voluntary tax certification process for the nation’s tax preparation industry for tax season 2015. H&R Block has long supported efforts to elevate the standards in the tax preparation industry in order to provide better service and protections for all consumers. Many industries, most with much less access to one’s personal financial history and other private information, require minimum competency standards.

H&R Block supports Congress enacting mandatory standards for professional tax return preparers. Until Congress is able to act, however, a voluntary tax certification program is essential for protecting consumers.

Last week H&R Block President and CEO Bill Cobb provided his support directly with a letter to Commissioner Koskinen.

The National Taxpayer Advocate reported an estimated 42 million consumers used a tax return preparer who was neither credentialed nor subject to state oversight and minimum standards to complete their 2011 tax returns. That represents approximately 54 percent of all returns prepared by someone other than the taxpayer.

Requiring tax return preparers to meet minimum standards and stay current with the tax code is about protecting the nearly 60 percent of consumers who get in-person help with their taxes every year. With the median U.S. income approximately $51,000, this 60 percent includes many hardworking low and middle income taxpayers for whom the tax return is the largest financial transaction of the year.

We believe implementing minimum competency standards for tax return preparers is the right thing to do to best serve and protect consumers.

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