NY Sets New Rules for Tax Preparers

ALBANY (AP/Hamodia) -

The Cuomo administration has set new regulations for the state’s 40,000 paid tax preparers, saying they will reduce errors and possible fraud.

New York state since 2011 has required most preparers to register annually with the Tax Department. Under the new regulations, those paid to prepare at least 10 state tax returns in a year are required to pass a basic competency exam, meet applicable IRS requirements and take four hours of annual continuing education.

Those with fewer than three years’ experience would be required to take a 16-hour basic tax course.

“With 70 percent of New York taxpayers depending on a tax preparer to file their taxes,” Cuomo said in a statement, “we need to ensure clear standards exist to prevent fraud and protect consumers.”

Cuomo also warned New Yorkers to be on guard for tax preparers who bill the client for a higher fee than agreed-upon, arguing the return was more complicated than originally anticipated.

The state Department of Taxation and Finance says the regulations took effect Dec. 11.

Attorneys, public accountants and volunteer tax preparers are exempt.