I recently attended a seminar that is called the Working Together Seminar. It is presented by the IRS, State Tax Representatives, Enrolled Agents and other Tax Professionals and considered a meeting of minds or a partnership of public and private tax professionals. It is designed to try to make it easier to look at tax issues from both sides – the two sides being the taxing authorities and the professional tax preparers who represent the taxpayers.
Enrolled Agents, Tax Professionals licensed by the IRS (EA’s) and Certified Public Accountants (CPA’s) are required to earn continuing education credits by attending seminars and taking courses to stay current on tax and accounting matters. EA’s are also required to earn credits in ethics. It is a real benefit to the clients of licensed tax preparers that they are required to continue to stay current in these matters.
Tax laws change from year to year, sometimes in minor ways and some times dramatically. Even though most tax preparers use computers to prepare returns these days, it’s important for them to be aware of the tax law changes so that they can be sure that the software is applying them correctly to the returns. Many tax concepts can be handled in more than one way, such as Section 179 depreciation deductions. Just because a taxpayer is entitled to this specific deduction doesn’t mean they should always maximize it every year. This is the type of tax concept that tax professionals can explain and offer advice on. Looking at income projections and tax rates can sometimes indicate that a deduction will be worth more in a future year than in a current year. Advice regarding the ability to bunch income and deductions at the end of a year can sometimes prove to be a tax saving idea.
These are just a sampling of ideas that may have been discussed at seminars and in courses that tax professionals attend to stay current and to meet their continuing education requirements. It’s a safe assumption that both the tax professional and their clients benefit from the continuing education requirements.
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