New York is at the forefront of consumer protection by requiring tax preparers to meet specific professional standards
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced that the 2017 tax preparer registration application is now available at its website, www.tax.ny.gov. More than 38,000 tax preparers in New York State must renew their registration if they plan on completing and filing New York State personal income tax returns next year.
The requirement to register, launched by Governor Cuomo in 2014, was part of a comprehensive set of new rules aimed at reducing errors and omissions on tax returns, combating fraud, and increasing the level of competence and ethics among preparers. New York is one of only four states in the nation that requires tax preparers to meet specific professional standards.
“Our top priority is protecting consumers,” said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion. “This effort to reduce errors and detect potential fraud helps strengthen the industry and increases the confidence of New Yorkers who hire paid tax preparers.”
In addition to the 2017 registration, most individuals who are paid to prepare at least one New York State tax return in a year must:
• be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate (or possess the equivalent of a high school degree);
• meet applicable IRS requirements;
• take four hours of annual continuing education; and
• if they have less than three years of experience preparing New York State tax returns, complete a 16-hour basic tax course.
Violation of these standards could result in a range of disciplinary actions, from remedial education to suspension or cancellation of a preparer’s registration.
Each year, the Tax Department processes more than 10 million individual tax returns, with approximately 70% of them completed and filed by paid tax preparers. Tax preparers can register for the first time or renew their registration using the Tax Department’s online application.
Before hiring a tax preparer, New Yorkers are encouraged to verify that the preparer is registered. They can do that online through Open Data. Attorneys, certified public accountants, public accountants and enrolled agents are exempt from the regulations, but are required to meet specific professional standards established by their licensing agencies.
Learn more on who must register as a tax preparer at tax.ny.gov.