The IRS and Tax Preparers

Thomas Schweickert
Reports are circulating that the IRS is amping up regulation of tax preparers, with sinister possibilities being raised.

Here's the deal:  since just about forever the IRS has required preparers to have their own social security numbers on the returns.  In the late 90's, when identity theft started becoming prevalent, preparers complained to the IRS that our numbers were becoming common knowledge, since the returns were being used to get loans and all that, and who knew where the SSN's would go from there.

So, in 1998, the IRS provided a different option -- those preparers who wanted to could obtain from the IRS a new preparer identification number that they could use instead of their SSN's.  Some got the numbers, some did not, and the IRS did not care either way.

Now, under the new law, everybody has to get and use a PIN. 

Although  it smells like intrusion into the tax prep biz, which the IRS already does loads of anyway, it really does provide protection for the SSN's of preparers. 

I suppose the only story here might be that it is one more area, like strip searches, where the government is forcing people to submit to small rules as it extends its tyranny, but since a variation of this rule has been in effect for over 30 years anyway I don't think this is a major issue/

Well, there might be one story already, but too small to use.  The IRS, also charged with administering the health care thing, had a horrible time getting the on-line registration system going.  They put it online, took it off, put it up again, took it off, and in general caused havoc among those who tried to use it.  I hear it is running now.

Thomas Schweickert is a professional tax preparer.
Reports are circulating that the IRS is amping up regulation of tax preparers, with sinister possibilities being raised.

Here's the deal:  since just about forever the IRS has required preparers to have their own social security numbers on the returns.  In the late 90's, when identity theft started becoming prevalent, preparers complained to the IRS that our numbers were becoming common knowledge, since the returns were being used to get loans and all that, and who knew where the SSN's would go from there.

So, in 1998, the IRS provided a different option -- those preparers who wanted to could obtain from the IRS a new preparer identification number that they could use instead of their SSN's.  Some got the numbers, some did not, and the IRS did not care either way.

Now, under the new law, everybody has to get and use a PIN. 

Although  it smells like intrusion into the tax prep biz, which the IRS already does loads of anyway, it really does provide protection for the SSN's of preparers. 

I suppose the only story here might be that it is one more area, like strip searches, where the government is forcing people to submit to small rules as it extends its tyranny, but since a variation of this rule has been in effect for over 30 years anyway I don't think this is a major issue/

Well, there might be one story already, but too small to use.  The IRS, also charged with administering the health care thing, had a horrible time getting the on-line registration system going.  They put it online, took it off, put it up again, took it off, and in general caused havoc among those who tried to use it.  I hear it is running now.

Thomas Schweickert is a professional tax preparer.