MACPA leaders went to the “Hill” during the spring meeting of the AICPA Council meeting this week to represent issues facing CPAs currently in Congress. Shown in the picture are MACPA members Larry Kamanitz, Art Flach and Bill Riley.
The top three issues we discussed were as follows:
This is also happening at the state level with the Maryland Tax Preparer Act we reported on previously. We have found a disturbing trend in which unlicensed groups in several states have tried to insert another credential — Accredited Tax Preparer/Adviser from the National Society of Accountants — as a requirement to be a paid tax preparer. These credentials involve a short exam created by the NSA or just taking continuing education courses. The issue is that these “accredited tax preparers” may confuse the public into believing they are dealing with a professional who has much higher standards. Our suggestion is to use the national enrolled agent exam (developed by the U.S. Treasury), Part 1, for individual income taxes as the baseline.
To make matters worse, we have discovered that a well-known CPE developer/provider — Surgent — is the easiest way for an unlicensed person to obtain this credential (see this attached application). I found this to be quite disturbing — how a CPE developer who has made a living serving licensed CPAs would use those same courses to “credential” unlicensed individuals that have no minimum standards to speak of. Isn’t this creating public confusion and unfair competition for our small practitioners?
What do you think? Is this unlicensed credential no big deal or a real threat?