How to Become a Maryland-IRS Qualified Tax Return Preparer
What is a Tax Preparer?
What are the recent changes to become a Tax Preparer?
The IRS requires all paid tax preparers to sign up with the IRS and obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). All tax preparers will need to renew an existing PTIN annually. Enrolled Agents have separate requirements, Click Here to learn more. Please note, residents of California, Maryland, New York and Oregon will also need to complete a state registered tax preparation course approved by their respective state.
What are the fees to obtain a PTIN?
What is the difference between an Enrolled Agent and an AFSP Record of Completion Holder?
How do I become an IRS Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion Holder?
In order to participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) you must complete 18 or 15 IRS credit hours of continuing education. The 15 hour IRS continuing education tax course includes 10 hours of federal tax law topics, 2 hours of ethics, and 3 hours of updates and is available from January 1st - December 31st. The 18 hour IRS continuing education tax course includes 6 hours of an Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course with a knowledge based comprehension test, 10 hours of federal tax law topics and 2 hours of ethics. The 18 hour IRS tax course is available each year from June 1st - December 31st. The program is directed to preparers who are not Attorneys, CPAs or Enrolled Agents. In order to determine whether to take a 15 hour or an 18 hour IRS tax course the guidelines are listed below.
Passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) test before 1/18/2013
Oregon/California/Maryland and other state based return preparer testing programs
Accredited Tax preparer test offered by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy or Taxation
Passed Part 1 of the Special Enrollment Exam (aka: SEE and EA Exam) during the 2 year eligibility window
Successful Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program reviewers and instructors
Platinum Professional Services offers both the IRS AFSP CE 18 Hour including the AFTR tax course and the IRS AFSP CE 15 Hour tax course. Once you complete the IRS Continuing Professional Education Tax course you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Platinum. Platinum will then report your completion to the IRS electronically. Once the tax preparer has met all three requirements for the AFSP (renewed their PTIN, taken appropriate amount of continuing education, completed and passed the AFTR course/test if required), a record of completion will be available in the PTIN holder's online IRS account for printing. Any "unenrolled" preparer not already bound by Circular 230 will need to sign an agreement to follow sub-part b of Circular 230 before being able to print the record of completion from the Internal Revenue Service. There will be no cost to the preparer for the AFSP record of completion. The IRS will then list AFSP tax preparers in their public database including the tax preparer's credentials.
What are the requirements in Maryland to become a Tax Preparer?
A registration issued by the Maryland State Board is required to prepare Maryland individual tax returns. The holding of a current, valid federal PTIN is the primary credential required for the issuance of a state registration. You must be at least 18 years old and hold a valid High School Diploma or GED. Because the IRS has not yet established an electronic system that enables the Board to verify your PTIN, the Maryland State Board must do so manually. The application provides instructions on forwarding a copy of the electronic confirmation you received when applying for the PTIN on line OR the "welcome letter" you received after your PTIN was issued. Failure to provide one of the requested documents will keep your registration from being issued. The registration fee for the initial two year registration and subsequent bi-annual renewal is $100. The expiration date will be two years from the date of issuance.
Maryland law requires that applicants for registration pass an examination, Section 21-302(e) of Title 16, Business Occupations and Professions, Annotated Code of Maryland. The cost of the Maryland Examination is $65. Those tax preparers who have taken and passed the RTRP exam given by the IRS do not have to take the Maryland exam, but must submit a copy of their RTRP Certificate issued by the IRS or the letter of passing results as proof. The Maryland Examination is being administered by PSI Services, LLC. Information about how to schedule, pay for, and take the Maryland Exam may be found at the PSI Exams Online Website.
The following is a link to the CPE Audit Checklist, which can be used to keep a record and a running total of CPE hours. Upon renewal, the "total hours earned" should equal at least 16. If asked by the Board to submit proof of CPE hours, this Checklist should be certified with your signature and submitted with course documentation.
Continuing Professional Education Audit Checklist
Platinum is approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to offer both the Maryland-IRS Continuing Professional Education Tax Courses as well as a Maryland Tax Return Preparer Test Preparation Course to help you pass the Maryland Examination.
If a credentialed tax professional (CPA, attorney, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, enrolled actuary) (please note, Maryland is currently listed under the exemptions) wants to receive an Annual filing Season record of completion, he/she must have 15 hours of continuing education from an IRS approved provider. The 15 credit hours will need to include 3 hours of Federal tax updates, 10 Hours of Federal tax law topics, and 2 hours of Ethics. No CE credit will be given to Enrolled Agents for completing an AFTR course. Once you complete the IRS Continuing Professional Education Tax course you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Platinum. Platinum will then report your completion to the IRS electronically. Once the tax preparer has met all three requirements for the Internal Revenue Service AFSP (renewed their PTIN, taken appropriate amount of continuing education, completed and passed the AFTR course/test if required), a record of completion will be available in the PTIN holder's online IRS account for printing. Any "unenrolled" preparer not already bound by Circular 230 will need to sign an agreement to follow sub-part b of Circular 230 before being able to print the certificate from the Internal Revenue Service. There will be no cost to the preparer for the AFSP record of completion. The IRS will then list AFSP tax preparers in their public database including the tax preparer's credentials.
What are the benefits of participating in the AFSP program?
By participating in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program you will be included in the IRS’s public directory of tax return preparers. Additionally, as a program participant, you have limited representation rights, you can represent your clients whose returns you have prepared and signed before examination, customer service representatives, and the Taxpayer Advocate Service in the year you participate in the program.