Certain tax preparers are required to register each year before filing returns on behalf of clients
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced the launch of the 2018 tax preparer registration application. Tax preparers can register for the first time or renew their registration now using the Tax Department’s online application.
More than 39,000 tax preparers in New York State must renew their registration to complete and file New York State personal income tax returns on behalf of their clients next year.
Governor Cuomo established the registration requirement and a wide-ranging set of new rules in 2014 to reduce errors and omissions on tax returns, guard against fraud, increase the level of competence for paid preparers, and cut down on unethical preparers taking advantage of clients. New York is one of only four states in the nation that requires tax preparers to meet specific professional standards.
“Protecting taxpayers from unscrupulous tax preparers falls under the Tax Department’s core mission,” said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion. “The professional standards now in place can improve the guidance taxpayers receive from preparers while also protecting the tax preparer industry from the reputational damage caused by incompetent or unethical preparers.”
In addition to annual registration, most individuals who are paid to prepare at least one New York State tax return in a year must:
- be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate (or possess the equivalent of a high school degree);
- meet applicable IRS requirements;
- take four hours of annual continuing education; and
- if they have less than three years of experience preparing New York State tax returns, complete a 16-hour basic tax course.
Those who fail to meet these standards face a range of disciplinary actions, from remedial education to suspension or, in some cases, cancellation of a preparer’s registration.
Each year, the Tax Department processes more than 10 million individual tax returns, with approximately 70% of them completed and filed by paid tax preparers. Attorneys, certified public accountants, public accountants and enrolled agents are exempt from the regulations, but must meet specific professional standards established by their licensing agencies.