Yesterday morning the IRS announced the release of a new and improved online public directory of qualified tax return preparers.  This directory will serve to satisfy two main purposes, to help taxpayers identify quality prepares and also to help independent prepares gain more visibility and credibility.

The IRS is also encouraging that the directory also be used for taxpayers who are looking for advice or guidance on the new health care laws.  A lot of new provisions are in action this tax season and it is expected to cause a lot of confusion throughout the country. 

Taxpayers can sort through the directory by name, city, state and zip code.  Also, they now have the ability to filter by credentials or specific qualifications in order to narrow down their search.  Those listed in this directory are attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents and those who have completed the voluntary IRS Annual Filing Season Program.  

All preparers listed also have valid 2015 Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN), which you should be sure is included when you file your tax return.  As of January 1st, over 666,000 tax return preparers have active PTINs for 2015 and due to the Tax Preparer Initiative launched in 2010, anyone with a valid PTIN has the ability to prepare federal tax returns for compensation.

According to the IRS, over 140 million individual tax returns were filed last year, and more than half of them were prepared with the help of a paid return preparer.  This represents a huge opportunity in the market for preparers to make some money this Tax Season

You can find the directory at http://irs.treasury.gov/rpo/rpo.jsf

To take advantage of this market opportunity simply take part in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program course.  By completing this course the IRS will place you in the directory mentioned above where you will gain the opportunity to be seen by Americans all over the country.  The IRS has designed the AFSP to keep tax return preparers informed and up to speed on all the changes made to tax law each year. The AFSP contains an Annual Tax Refresher course with a curriculum handed down directly by the IRS. This guarantees that all courses have the appropriate material to keep all tax preparers current and up-to-date. For more information on the AFSP go to: http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Annual-Filing-Season-Program.