As we reported last week, the Taxpayer Protection and Assistance Act of 2005 (S. 832) is a pro-taxpayer and pro-tax professional bill that will enhance the integrity of both the tax profession and the tax administration system.
S. 832 is of critical importance to EAs because it contains the EA credential protection language long desired by NAEA as well as language regarding the enrollment of all paid preparers. The preparer enrollment section of the bill is consistent with NAEA's position on the matter. It calls for:
- enrollment of all paid preparers under Circular 230, which means that all who prepare returns for a living are governed by the same stringent rules as Enrolled Agents and that taxpayers are much less likely to be victimized by unethical, incompetent tax preparers;
- administration of preparers by a fully-resourced Office of Professional Responsibility, which means that bad apples can (and will) be permanently barred from preparing returns and tarnishing the good reputations of those of us who are committed to the honest, intelligent and ethical representation of taxpayers' financial positions; and,
- promotion of all Circular 230 practitioners by IRS, which means that those who are currently enrolled (CPAs, EAs and attorneys) will be promoted along with the new enrolled preparers (who will be licensed to perform only a subset of the work that the current Circular 230 practitioners can perform).
The bill is sponsored by New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman. Six senators have co-sponsored the bill on a bipartisan basis. NAEA has asked the New Mexico state chapter president and the state chapter presidents of each of the six cosponsors to send a letter of thanks and support to their respective senator.
Those letters are only the tip of the iceberg in our grassroots campaign. In order to increase the chances for passage of this bill, we each need to write our senators and our representative. The Government Relations department at NAEA has written boilerplate language, one for your senators and the other one for your House member.