IRS Getting Push-back on Return Preparer Regs

Most people are pleased with the IRS’ new tax return preparer regulations and are hopeful that they will help to purge the system of incompetent preparers.  But Elmer Kilian, an 80-year-old tax preparer from Eagle, WI, doesn’t want the government meddling in his business.  He and two other return preparers are filing a lawsuit seeking an injunction that bars the regulation from taking effect.  The lawsuit is being filed by the Institute of Justice in Arlington, Virginia.

The return preparer regulations include registration, testing, and continuing education elements — each element, of course, includes some costs that must be born by the preparer.  However, most of what I’m seeing in opposition to these regs has less to do with the costs than it does with pride and independence.  Some people just don’t want the IRS influencing their private businesses choices; they don’t like what they think is excessive government regulation.  Some folks have been preparing returns the old-fashioned way (maybe even with a quill pen) for decades without any egregious errors, and they would rather close up shop than change their ways.

Kilian and others also like to gripe about the injustice of exempting the CPA and tax attorney from testing and continuing education requirements.  I don’t know about CPAs but, trust me, if attorneys were subject to any more regulation they wouldn’t be able to get dressed in the morning without some regulatory authority telling them which tie they have to wear.