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Subject:  Gov't regulation of tax preparers Date:  9/26/2013  12:04 AM
Author:  fleg9bo Number:  119210 of 127512

The Obama administration on Tuesday defended its effort to regulate the tax return preparation business for the first time in U.S. history, basing its case largely on a 19th century law dealing with horses lost or killed in the Civil War ...the administration sees the "Horse Act of 1884" as providing ample authority for the IRS to regulate the tens of thousands of preparers who fill out millions of Americans' federal tax returns.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard the administration's argument. [Tax Division lawyer] Rothenberg said the IRS should be allowed to force tax return preparers -- who are now unregulated -- to pass a competency test and take annual continuing education classes.

But the Institute for Justice, a libertarian advocacy law firm, disagreed. "Congress never gave the IRS authority to regulate tax preparers," said Dan Alban, an attorney for the institute.

The case has broad implications for the industry, which includes H&R Block Inc, a few mid-tier companies and thousands of tiny, mom-and-pop firms.

The decision is still months away. But here in Oregon, the future has already arrived, and you have to pass a state board exam to become a tax preparer (if you're not a CPA, lawyer or EA). Didn't do me or rosewine any harm.

--fleg, former H&R Blockhead (1995)
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