Tax Preparers' Comments Run Gamut on IRS Competency Testing

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Some tax preparers who will be directly or indirectly affected by official competency testing with IRS take the most extreme view—that IRS should force return preparers to get an accounting degree—while others say anyone preparing taxes for five years without problems should be grandfathered and not have to take a test at all. The middle view in comment letters IRS receives on Notice 2011-48 is that mandatory testing be mainly multiple choice, focus on common errors found in the Form 1040 series, make 75 percent to 80 percent a passing grade, and should be offered frequently enough so that preparers who fail can take the test again quickly.