That’s one man’s opinion anyway! The IRS Oversight Board put out its annual Taxpayer Attitude Survey and while the survey indicates that most people are down with some regulation around preparers, the Oversight Board’s Chairma Paul Cherecwich sees it as being far bigger than that:
“Requiring tax preparers to register and verify their competency may be one of the most important steps the IRS has made in the tax system in our lifetimes,” said IRS Oversight Board Chairman Paul Cherecwich in a statement. “A tax return prepared improperly or fraudulently can have negative ramifications for years for an unsuspecting taxpayer — and it’s clear from the board’s survey that Americans know that.”
Now maybe we’re overstating this a little bit but to say that forcing tax preparers to “register and verify their competency may be one of the most important steps the IRS has made in the tax system in our lifetimes” is um, well, ludicrous. Say it’s an important step, say it’s a good step, whatever but one of the most important things the IRS has done in our f—ing lifetime? Creating additional layers of bureaucracy is not an accomplishment.
Breathe…Since we’re directly affected by this, we thought we should get a practitioner’s point of view. We dialed up our contributor Joe Kristan who is in the throes of tax season for his opinion:
All “issue” polls like that are useless because they never include costs. For example, they never follow up: “would you still support it if it drove 20% of the preparers out of the market and raised your costs by 20%?” They assume that there is no hitch between the regulators cup and your lip, and that all regulators work well. As if.
The regulations will increase costs and do little or nothing to improve tax compliance. Only a better tax law can really do that.
That’s our emphasis but Joe would probably agree with it.