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Certified Tax Resolution Specialist (CTRS)

Governing agency

The Certified Tax Resolution Specialist designation is conferred by the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers (ASTPS) to tax professionals who meet specific criteria.

How to become a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist

Applicants must:

  • be an Enrolled Agent, CPA or attorney,
  • complete a minimum of 16 hours of continuing professional education covering any form of tax problem resolution in the two years prior to applying,
  • have one year of professional experience directly or indirectly related to the resolution of tax problems,
  • pass the uniform CTRS exam and
  • be a member of ASTPS

The 16 hours of CPE must be completed prior to sitting for the CTRS exam.  Note that the 16 hours of CPE must cover tax resolution and cannot be general tax preparation courses.  The CPE and experience requirement should concern the following types of actions:

  • Offer in Compromise
  • Installment Agreements
  • Penalty Abatement
  • Trust Fund Recovery Penalty
  • Employment tax Cases
  • Taxpayer Advocate Assistance
  • Currently Non Collectible
  • Tax Abated in Bankruptcy
  • CDP Hearing
  • CAP Hearing
  • Audit Appeal
  • Innocent Spouse
  • Penalty Abatement
  • 4180 interviews
  • Lien Withdrawal
  • Levy Release

The CTRS exam consists of 150 questions, plus a case problem requiring preparation of a case for resolution.  The exam is a take home open book exam, and you have 30 days to complete it.

Candidates for certification must also agree to abide by the Bylaws and Code of Professional Ethics of the ASTPS.

American Society of Tax Problem Solver membership

The ASTPS mission is to help members provide taxpayers with competent representation before the Internal Revenue Service and other taxing authorities. They offer two membership levels:

  • Standard membership--available to attoneys, CPAs and Enrolled Agents
  • Associate membership--available to non-licensed professionals

Both membership levels have the same initiation fee and annual dues, as well as the same benefits except that associate members cannot become certified. ASTPS also offers a free membership trial for 10 days.

Continuing professional education requirements

In years past, 16 hours of CPE was required to maintain the ASTPS membership.  Currently, there is no CPE requirement. Tax professionals must just maintain their professional credential (CPA, EA, Attorney), and these credentials each require CPE to maintain. 

We welcome Certified Tax Resolution Specialists to our site and would like to serve your needs better. Please contact us with any suggestions for new course topics for CTRS CPE specifically.

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