Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP)

RTRP Program Overview

The IRS started the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) program in 2012 with two main goals:

  1. Require all tax preparers to pass a basic competency test
  2. Require all tax preparers to complete 15 hours of continuing education (CE) each year, prior to renewing the Preparer Tax ID Number (PTIN)

The RTRP program ended in January 2013 after a few tax preparers sued the IRS, on the basis that the IRS did not have the authority to mandate these requirements. The lawsuit was settled in favor of the tax preparers, and the IRS discontinued the RTRP program and related testing and CPE requirements.

The IRS issued the following announcement:

As of Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has enjoined the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the regulatory requirements for registered tax return preparers. In accordance with this order, tax return preparers covered by this program are not currently required to register with the IRS, to complete competency testing or secure continuing education. The ruling does not affect the regulatory practice requirements for CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents or enrolled actuaries.

The Internal Revenue Service, working with the Department of Justice, continues to have confidence in the scope of its authority to administer this program. On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the IRS and Justice Department asked for the injunction to be lifted. Regardless of the outcome of that request, an appeal is planned within the next 30 days.

The IRS is continuing to evaluate the scope of the court's order in determining consistent next steps. 

Is the RTRP credential still recognized?

The IRS only recognizes the RTRP credential for purposes of exempting RTRPs from the new Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course which is a component of the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP).  Currently, RTRPs are classifed as "Exempt" from the AFTR course, and as a result can take fewer CE hours to achieve the AFSP Record of Completion. 

FunCPE is an Approved Continuing Education Sponsor for Tax Preparers, including RTRPs

View current year IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider agreement 

- IRS Approved CE Provider number is FAE6R

- Valid in all states for Tax Return Preparers

- An approved IRS CPE sponsor for over 10 years

- CE valid for all PTIN holders, including Enrolled Agents

Continuing professional education for RTRPs

There are no CPE requirements for RTRPs.  You can renew your PTIN without completing any CPE courses.  You can participate in the voluntary Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) if desired.  Review the details of the AFSP here.

If you have taken and passed the RTRP competency exam, you are considered "Exempt" from the Annural Federal Tax Refresher course. Review the "Exempt" versus "Non-exempt" requirements here.

More information

For answers to common questions such as "Can I still take the RTRP exam?" and "How can I become a Certified Tax Preparer?"  visit our supplemental RTRP information page.