The IRS this week released the specifications for the competency test that individuals must pass to become a Registered Tax Return Preparer.
The test will have approximately 120 questions in a combination of multiple choice and true or false format. The questions will be weighted and individuals will receive a pass or fail score, with diagnostic feedback provided to those who fail. The time limit for taking the test is expected to be between two and three hours.
The following publications are recommended as study materials, but the list is not all-encompassing:
Publication 17, Form 1040 and Form 1040 instructions will be available to individuals when they are taking the test as reference materials.
The fee for the test has not been finalized but is expected to be between $100 and $125, which is separate from the PTIN user fee. Currently there is no limit on the number of times preparers can take the test, but they must pay the fee each time. Individuals must pass the test only once.
Individuals who already have a PTIN from the IRS do not have to pass the exam until Dec. 31, 2013, but can take the exam as soon as it is available this fall.
Those who are not CPAs, EAs or attorneys must pass the competency exam, background check and tax compliance check, as well as complete 15 hours of continuing education annually. Those who do will earn the new designation of Registered Tax Return Preparer. Individuals who work under the supervision of CPAs, attorneys or EAs and prepare but do not sign returns will not be required to take the test.
For more information, visit the IRS website