After much research of what tax course to take to get my 15 hours in, it was good to get my certificate from an online tax school. I had "assumed" proof was needed before renewing my PTIN. Imagine my surprise when the question was: "do you have or do you have intentions of getting your 15 hours?"
The numbers are amazing with how many of us put off the test till next year, and I wonder how many are like myself that are thinking of retirement next April 16th.
notacrybaby, please think this through. The costs are not that great. What, $116 for the test and $63 for the PTIN is only $179. If you work for Block, CPEs cost $20. So for about $200 you can do what you do. I'm sure you make a whole lot more than that during tax season. If you don't work for Block, the CPEs will cost a lot more, but I'm sure you've been paying for them anyway because you need to keep up to date with the changes. Most professionals (Drs, nurses, CPAs, even hairdressers) have licensing fees. They pay them so they can make money. Why should tax pros be any different? You'll still make money, just $200 less. If as many people leave the business as you think, you'll be in demand and make more. You're worth it.
This mentality reminds me of people who have medical insurance. If the insurance doesn't cover something, they just don't have it done or go to that specialist. It's like they get used to insurance covering everything so if it isn't "free" (or nearly so with minimal copays) they don't do it, even if they could afford it or really need it. (Think dental or mental health care, where insurance isn't likely to cover much of the bill so people just don't go.)
Connie's remarks about 10-year preparers failing the exam more than once scared me. It shows why this test is necessary. Those people should not be doing taxes.
And doontoothers, you post exudes your test anxiety. What if I hit traffic or have to go the bathroom or can't find a parking place? You're more worried about the test taking than you are about the content. Do yourself a favor. Stay overnight in the city where the test is given, and don't drink too much coffee that AM so the bathroom thing won't be such a worry. Several people I know did just these things for the EA exam when it used to be held in hotel conference centers. It cost something but was worth it to them to alleviate those type of anxieties. You know your stuff and you'll do fine.
No fear of test, David. The course I did take was probably 20 times more difficult, with 1/2 the questions on passive activities, corps, and partnerships, as I really needed a "brush up". I did find Circular 230 more difficult on testing, barely passed, and took a 2nd course this morning from Liberty on a webinar that was great and cleared up all my cobwebs. Not that I'll retain all that info, much of it common sense with conflict of interest, but getting into unconscionable fees and contingent fee took the brain a while to sort it all.
My problem is sheer laziness. Having to drive to the next town for the test, in a heavy traffic area, where parking will be UGH, and not knowing how long it takes to sign in and get ready for the test, and will I need the entire 3 hours, then fight traffic on the way home...... makes it easier to postpone the test till the very last minute. I'm not comfortable in a new place I've never been to & what happens if I need the bathroom during the test? Is it allowed? If I could take the test on the internet, I would have been the first to sign up.
doontoothers, I don't think david is quite right that you only need "minimal prep." You probably know the tax part very well. From what I've heard, you really need to study Circular 230 (something not in your everyday repertoire) and practice looking up things in the online version of Pub 17 (even though you usually navigate the print version with ease). I believe the test only covers individual returns, so you're not going to have to memorize the rules for basis in S corps or guaranteed payments for partners.
I think a lot of preparers just haven't had to take a test for so long that even though they know the tax content inside and out, they're afraid of the test-taking itself. Block preparers take tests all the time so maybe this fear doesn't apply to them. What you need is to build your confidence. When you tackle those tax returns you know you get them right (or 99% of them). Take that attitude to the test site. I can do this, I do it all the time!
It's shocking that the IRS can't match CPEs with PTINs. They match zillions of W2s, 1099s, and other information reporting documents with what's reported on millions of tax returns every single year. The PTIN holder universe in infinitely smaller, so you'd think they could do that matching in seconds. The whole point of registering preparers was to make sure they had adequate training. I just can't believe the technology isn't there yet. This just reinforces the opinion of many that the whole registration thing was just a money grab. I really believed their hype that the purpose was to enhance the quality of tax prep. Maybe someday....
It's funny the IRS return preparer goup came up with all these great plans and then realized they really can't match the CPE's with the PTIN holders this year, so just self certify, and if you really didn't have time to complete your 15 hrs just tell us why.