Information on the Registered Tax Return Preparer Exam

Post Date: 9/6/11
Last Updated: 9/6/11


The IRS has released the specifications for the competency test individuals must pass to become a Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP). The test is part of an ongoing effort to enhance oversight of the tax preparation industry. Attorneys, CPAs and EAs, as well as supervised employees of attorneys, CPAs, and EAs who prepare but do not sign tax returns, are exempt from the testing requirements. The IRS will notify preparers who have a testing requirement and provide more details.

Testing. Testing will be done through Prometric, the IRS vendor for the RTRP exam. The cost for testing will be between $100 and $125. The test will have approximately 120 questions in both multiple choice and true/false formats and is expected to take two to three hours to complete. In addition to the testing costs, tax preparers need to pay a separate fee for obtaining a Paid-Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

Test preparation. To prepare for the test, the IRS offers a list of recommended study materials including, but not limited to:
• Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax,
• Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,
• Form 1040 Instructions,
• Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice before the Internal Revenue Service (rev. 8/2/11)
• Publication 334, Tax Guide for Small Business,
• Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education,
• Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers,
• Form 6251, Alternative Minimum Tax—Individuals,
• Form 6251 Instructions, and
• Form 8879, IRS e-File Signature Authorization.

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