Tax preparers brace for new regulations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tax preparers brace for new regulations

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - Now that the holidays have passed, it's almost time for the next annual season - tax season.  Tax preparers are popping up at retail locations all over the place but how experienced is the person doing your taxes?  New regulations go into effect next year that are expected to give you more confidence after your trip to the tax place.  H&R Block is one of the biggest tax preparers in the country.  They open space in places like College Square Mall in the months leading up to April 15th to deal with the tax rush.  More than 80% of Americans use a tax preparer or tax software to complete their return. 

"Taxes become very complex over time and the last 4 to 8 years, they've become even more complex with deductions," said H&R Block District Manager Anthony Brown.

H&R Block employs a large amount of seasonal workers.  Workers like Deb Schwickerath.  She's a stay-at-home mom - except during tax season.

"It gives me a break. I love it," said Schwickerath.

As of 2011, Schwickerath and all other tax preparers will have to register with the government, pass competency tests, and follow ethical standards.  H&R Block representatives say they already meet those requirements.  Schwickerath says her training begins in the summer.

"Starting in August and September, they start holding classes for taxes and they get us geared up for the new tax season so we're always learning about the new tax laws," said Schwickerath.

The IRS says tax preparers will be held to higher standards in future years as it steps up oversight.  By the way, the IRS estimates that only 70% of people calling its toll-free tax help line will get through to a human being.  It says it's flooded with calls with questions about changes to the tax codes and simply can't handle it.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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