It isn't often the AICPA throws out serious words like "deep concerns," yet they just did in regards to the IRS' proposed voluntary tax preparer program. Those deep concerns are the program itself, how quick the IRS is trying to get it in place and the confusion that might result from stupid taxpayers thinking "regulated" preparers are somehow better than "other" preparers (and the "others" the AICPA is worried about are obviously certain AICPA members in good standing).
From the AICPA:
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) expressed its opposition today to a voluntary tax return preparer regulation program that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is planning in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The IRS was blocked from implementing a mandatory regulation program by court decisions in Loving v. IRS.
The AICPA has “deep concerns with regard to a voluntary system, and the speed with which the IRS is moving to implement such a system,” AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA and Jeffrey A. Porter, CPA, chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee, wrote. “We believe a voluntary program would create confusion regarding the relative proficiencies of the various types of preparers. In addition, the proposed voluntary system would undoubtedly leave the impression among most taxpayers that certain tax return preparers are endorsed by the Internal Revenue Service.”
Melancon and Porter called into question the proposal’s likely effectiveness. “As a practical matter, any voluntary regime constructed would still not address the problems with unethical and fraudulent tax return preparers.”
They also criticized the process the IRS is using and how quickly it is proceeding. “We are concerned that the IRS is rapidly moving forward without widely disseminating the proposal or seeking public comments.”
Our own Greg Kyte had some thoughts on the AICPA's opposition, we'll just leave those here:
The AICPA opposes IRS voluntary tax preparer certification because Barry Melacon, CPA, CGMA, ABV, CITP, CFF hates voluntary certifications.
— Greg Kyte, CPA (@gregkyte) May 20, 2014
In case you are just dying to read this strongly-worded opposition letter to IRS Commish John Koskinen, it's your lucky day!