Don't overlook the fact that current tax pros (that have paid the irs fee) do not have to pass the test this year. They have until next year, after 2013 tax season.
I imagine some have tried the test and failed, so they will wait till next year. Also a bunch are on the fence about staying in the business so are delaying the test till necessary.
Also remember,the IRS makes the rules and changes the rules to suite their perceived need. They will makes sure that there is a orderily 2013 tax season ,or heads will roll.
Question for lead poster. If there is a shortage of Tax preparers, how will you be able to staff and manage two offices?
I really don''t perceive the events that happened last season would lead me to believe that IRS regards their need for wanting things to go smooth and orderly would outweigh their needs to require want they want. I expect much of the same this tax season. They haven't backed off on filtering the returns, and, in fact, are talking about doing more. While some will receive a refund in a short period of time, I expect many will be waiting the 2 to 4 weeks (like last year) before they get their return. Most offices will have enough rtrps to keep open, some won't. I have looked at how many people are registered with some schools for the enrolled agent exam vs the RTRP exam. Surprise! The amount of EA enrollment has almost doubled since last year, and exceeds the number of RTRP students (e.g. "Fast Forward" school). Many pros are seeing the opportunity that is taking shape. Same happened in Oregon, eventually, even though they had a grandfather clause. One EA can hire numerous supervised preparers, and make bunches more bucks than a RTRP if he/she opens his/her own place. There are many under-employed or unemployed CPAs and EAs with the current economy. Hiring competent and registered may mean having to pay 20 to 30 an hour. If you don't have to pay the franchise fees, that isn't really a problem. Even at the current average client fee. The average hourly fee in Oregon is over 20. Oregon told IRS, we made a huge mistake by grandfathering, or making it easy. "Don't do it", they said. I don't think they will. There will be enough preparers to handle the masses, however, they may have to wait in line for a time. Or, leave it and come back. No rush, there is no longer a "rapid refund", as they will discover, again, next tax season..
Prometic the testing company has already indicated to the IRS that they do not have the capacity to test all of the tax pros who have not taken the test to date. That means if you have tax pros who have not taken the test they need to book and get it done early. If the IRS does not extend the testing requirement period tax pros could be unable to work because they have not tested.
"the IRS makes the rules and changes the rules to suite their perceived need."
C'mon Mr. Phil. You know that CONGRESS makes the rules and changes them to suit THEIR perceived need (think homebuyer credits, education credits, bonus depreciation--all social policy decisions). The IRS only follows the directions congress gives them. What's happened all to often lately is that congress can't make up its mind or break its partisan tug of wars until the new tax season is almost upon us. Then the IRS has to scramble to reprogram everything, redo forms, rewrite pubs, etc. In the past they've done a commendable job getting most of the changes incorporated in time. This year they've had a significant budget decrease, even though they need more people just to handle the new responsibilities for their piece of health care legislation. Just maybe this year they won't be ready in time. Just maybe for the first time ever tax season will just have to start later and last longer. Everyone will blame the IRS of course, while congress (the real culprit) will let them be the scapegoat.
Anyone know if all those PTIN holders who have yet to take the RTRP exam all are required to take it? CPAs, EAs, attorneys, and "supervised" tax preparers don't have to take it, even though they hold PTINs. Just wonder who's included in those stats.