IRS Letters and Visits to Return Preparers – FAQs Filing Season 2012

How many return preparers will be visited by IRS revenue agents prior to and during the 2012 filing season? What is the purpose of the visits?

IRS revenue agents will be conducting approximately 2,100 compliance visits with members of the return preparer community nationally.

The purpose of these visits is:

  • To confirm tax return preparers are complying with current return preparer requirements, including  the maintenance of records and signing and furnishing of PTINs on the tax returns that they prepare if required to do so; and
  • To provide information on new return preparer requirements effective for the 2012 filing season.

When will the visits take place?

Visits are expected to start in November 2011 and be completed by April 15, 2012.

Why is the IRS mailing these letters and conducting the visits during the busiest time of the year?

The letters and the visits are an integral part of the ongoing effort by the IRS to enhance oversight of the tax return preparation industry and to provide educational outreach to the tax return preparer community.  Many tax return preparers do not maintain regular business hours except during the filing season, making it difficult for the IRS to schedule on-site visits except during the filing season. Also, mailing the letters and conducting the visits during the filing season allows tax return preparers to use the information the IRS is sharing with them when they prepare their clients’ returns during the 2012 filing season.  Using this information will help tax return preparers improve the accuracy of the returns that they prepare and avoid costly penalties for themselves and their clients.

What if a tax return preparer is busy and cannot meet with the revenue agent? What are the consequences?

The IRS is providing a 5-month timeframe to conduct the visits to ensure tax return preparers are given adequate notice to schedule their visitation.

Tax return preparers who are not meeting their preparer requirements under the Internal Revenue Code may have penalties imposed against them.  If tax return preparers who are not meeting their requirements also may be subject to discipline under Circular 230.  Tax return preparers who were issued a provisional PTIN may have their provisional PTIN revoked.  Meeting with the revenue agent provides the tax return preparer an opportunity to demonstrate that the tax return preparer is in compliance with return preparer requirements or explain why the tax return preparer has reasonable cause.

How will I know if I am selected for a visit?

An IRS revenue agent will call those tax return preparers selected for a visit in advance to schedule the date and time of the visit. The revenue agent will send a letter confirming the location, date, and time of the visit.