Comments Sought on IRS Continuing Education Provider Standards and Process

The IRS on July 18 invited public comments on its process for approving continuing education providers and on the standards that should apply to such providers (Notice 2011-61). Under final Circular 230 regulations issued in May, registered tax return preparers will be required to meet continuing education requirements by completing courses offered by qualified continuing education providers. (See “IRS Finalizes Circular 230 Regulations.”)

The notice says the IRS is developing procedures and standards for individuals and entities that want to be approved as continuing education providers and is looking for input from education providers, tax return preparers, industry and consumer groups, and taxpayers.

The notice provides a long list of specific items the IRS is especially interested in comments on, including what information an applicant must submit to be approved as a continuing education provider and what criteria the IRS should use to evaluate whether a continuing education provider applicant meets the requirements of Circular 230.

Comments can be emailed to and should include “Notice 2011-61” in the subject line. Comments should be submitted by August 17.

The requirement that registered tax return preparers meet continuing education requirements is part of the IRS’ ongoing effort to regulate “unenrolled” tax return preparers. The AICPA recently signaled its support for the IRS’ program, after the IRS listened to concerns and adjusted the program to reflect suggestions made by the AICPA and other stakeholders.

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