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The Perception of Tax Preparer Certification

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The Perception of Tax Preparer Certification

Everywhere you look; individuals that handle very personal and confidential information are regulated and certified. This vast list includes financial advisors, insurance salesman, and CPAs. Other individuals that have a great responsibility over other people's lives, such as members of the medical and law fields are all certified in order to do their job. Now is the time for an overlooked segment of the job market that needs to join these ranks. This overlooked segment is the tax preparation service field. These individuals have access to more information about an individual than most of that individual's own family. From birthdates, Social Security numbers to the amount of income and deductions for a given tax year, tax preparers are entrusted with a great deal of extremely sensitive information. Think of the ramifications if a tax preparer either leaked out this information, allowed this information to get in the wrong hands, or worse yet, committed an act of fraud on the tax payers behalf. Tax preparers should be certified to ensure that the tax payer, tax preparer and the Internal Revenue Service receive the most benefits.

Information security is the leading reason for tax preparer certification. With certification, comes accountability for actions. By putting a stringent policy in place, the organization in charge of certification could be able to monitor and regulate the various entities involved in the tax preparation industry. They could issue strict guidelines concerning the security of client files, how to store them, how to secure them. An auditing process could be instituted with unscheduled visits to ensure that the rules were being followed.

The tax preparer's counterparts; CPAs and Enrolled Agents are all currently required to be certified and are also able to present cases in front of the IRS. Certification of tax preparers would also allow this to happen. What the taxpayer perceives about the type of credentials a tax preparer holds has an impact on the trust between the taxpayer and tax preparer. (Schmidt 162). That perception can also translate into how the taxpayer views the quality of service that they receive or how well the tax preparer could complete a more complicated return. (Christensen 78).

Ethics is another factor that needs to be considered. With certification, ethics could be a part of the testing procedure to ensure that the tax preparers are aware of the ethical procedures involved. This could a major factor in cutting down on tax fraud.

Peace of mind would be major benefit from the certification process. According to a study, tax payers feel more at ease if they consult with a tax preparer that has some sort of certification. (Schmidt 170). Another issue that can be brought out would be that according to Schmidt, "this study also indicates that taxpayers, in general are more inclined



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