Federal Tax Return Preparer Registration: Navigating Final Regulations

Preparing for New Circular 230 Preparer Standard, Competency Testing and Continuing Education Requirements

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This teleconference will provide accounting advisors and tax return preparers with a thorough overview of the details of the finalized tax return preparer registration program rules in Circular 230. The panel will prepare advisors to create a comprehensive compliance program for their entire staff.


Accounting firms and other businesses preparing tax returns for a fee received long-awaited IRS guidance recently on registering staff who act as signing or non-signing preparers for federal preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs), via finalized revisions to Circular 230 regulations (T.D 9527).

Effective soon, the regs enact the new "registered tax return preparer" standard. Key aspects of registration include 15 hours of annual CPE to maintain a PTIN (starting after Sept. 10, 2011) and Circular 230 restrictions on advertising and solicitation. Competency testing will also be required.

Firms must familiarize themselves now with all aspects of the finalized Circular 230 return preparer registration program regulations—and make necessary adjustments to their compliance program and staff preparation and training.

Listen as our panel of experienced tax professionals analyzes the finalized IRS regs and explores their potential impact on your firm and your staff's tax preparation work.



  1. Background on state and federal return preparer registration
    1. IRS June 2009 announcement of intent to regulate preparers
    2. IRS January 2010 release of report with recommendations
    3. Aug. 19, 2010 proposed administrative regs and plans for online PTIN system
  2. What was previously resolved with registration process
    1. Process to register for and obtain a PTIN
      1. Criminal background checks
    2. Competency testing and continuing education for non-federally authorized tax practitioners
    3. Exemption for CPAs, attorneys and enrolled agents who are active and in good standing with licensing agencies
    4. Potential costs
      1. IRS registration fee and program vendor fee
      2. Competency test charge
      3. Potential fines for non-compliance
  3. Key terms of finalized Circular 230 regulations (T.D. 9527) and Notice 2011-45
    1. Plain-language summary of requirements
    2. Adoption of the term “registered tax return preparer”
      1. Some restrictions on individuals with a provisional PTIN
    3. Circular 230 advertising and solicitation rules
      1. Required advisory statement in all ad materials
    4. Circular 230 provisions on practitioner conduct and discipline
    5. Continuing education requirements postponed for at least first year of preparer registration, which started Sept. 30, 2010
      1. Qualifications for education providers
      2. No IRS pre-approval of individual continuing ed programs
    6. No delay of competency testing requirements
    7. No additional exemption for non-signing preparers beyond Notice 2011-06
  4. Actions to consider now in response to the new regulations


The panel will analyze these and other key areas:

  • The registered return preparer designation: Who meets it, who needs to obtain a PTIN and register, and how to get the PTIN.
  • Continuing education requirements: How soon they'll apply, and what the IRS decision not to pre-approve courses means for advisors.
  • Circular 230 advertising and solicitation restrictions: What your firm can and can't do.
  • Competency testing: How soon to expect the first exam and what it might include.

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Preston Benoit
Preston Benoit
Acting Deputy Director, Return Preparer Office
Internal Revenue Service

He has served as acting deputy director for five months, after leadership stints for the IRS in hiring staff, the Small...  |  Read More

Pietro Canestrelli
Pietro Canestrelli

Reid & Hellyer

His practice extends into tax law, tax controversy and litigation representation engagements for business clients.

 |  Read More
Chad Muller
Chad Muller

Chamberlain Hrdlicka

He represents clients in federal and state civil tax litigation and has served on several IRS advisory groups. He has...  |  Read More

Cathy Stopyra
Cathy Stopyra
Senior Manager, National Tax

She works with business and individual tax clients across all industries, on matters involving IRS accounts and...  |  Read More

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