Yoho, Panetta Introduce Bipartisan Tax Bill in the House
Washington, D.C. - Today Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) and House Committee on Ways and Means Member, Jimmy Panetta, (D-CA), introduced the Taxpayer Protection and Preparer Proficiency Act. This legislation allows the IRS to require minimum standards for paid tax preparers. This bill is a House companion to Senate bill - S. 1192, introduced by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).
While around 60 percent of taxpayers use paid preparers, there are currently no minimum federal competency standards for tax preparers. Therefore, they have no obligation to receive tax education or training or demonstrate competency in tax return preparation – leaving many who rely on these services vulnerable.
Due to the absence of such standards, the IRS receives more than 10,000 complaints per year about bad actors in this field. While the Justice Department and IRS can prosecute preparers for fraud, the D.C. Circuit’s 2014 decision in Loving v. IRS weakened taxpayer protections by barring prosecution for incompetence.
The Taxpayer Protection and Preparer Proficiency Act requires that preparers demonstrate competency in preparing returns, claims for refund and associated documents. It also requires preparers to complete continuing education requirements. The IRS would also be given the authority to rescind taxpayer identification numbers (PTINs) of preparers found to be incompetent or fraudulent.
“Families and individuals all over the country rely on the services of paid tax-preparers during tax season. As American citizens, we are required to pay our taxes and therefore should at least ensure that those who prepare our taxes are competent. However, due to a lack of minimum federal standards, many are taken advantage of by unqualified tax preparers who are looking to make a profit,” said Congressman Ted Yoho. “The Taxpayer Protection and Preparer Proficiency Act will restore the ability of Treasury and the IRS to set federal standards of tax practice for all paid return preparers which will provide families and individuals with protection and assurance during tax season.”
“All U.S. taxpayers should know their tax preparers are qualified. Our bipartisan bill ensures that preparers meet competency standards and are held accountable, protecting filers from fraud and reducing error rates and audits,” said Congressman Panetta.
“One of my chief priorities as a member of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee has been to modernize the IRS for the hardworking taxpayers of this country. Every single person who uses a tax preparer should have the peace of mind that the person helping them has the knowledge and requisite skills to handle their financial obligations properly,” said Congresswoman DelBene. “This bipartisan legislation is an important step toward protecting taxpayers and holding those accountable who can’t or aren’t willing to take seriously the responsibility of helping taxpayers.”
“Incompetent or crooked paid tax preparers regularly exploit taxpayers to pad their bottom line. States like Oregon have led in this area by requiring basic standards for preparers, and it’s critical that we restore federal standards to protect all taxpayers,” said Senator Wyden. “It’s a no-brainer to protect your constituents from unscrupulous scammers, and I’d like to thank Congressmen Jimmy Panetta and Ted Yoho for introducing bipartisan companion legislation in the House of Representatives.”