CPE Link  is proud to announce it has launched www.CPE4RTRP.com, a simple, user-friendly, one-stop website dedicated exclusively to helping tax preparers figure out and meet the new IRS requirements for certification and continuing professional education.

According to the IRS, hundreds of thousands of tax preparers have yet to take the Registered Tax Return Preparers (RTRP) competency exam , and they are running out of time to meet the December 31 deadline this year to complete their 15 hours of required CPE.

CPE is an entirely new experience for a large number of people who have been preparing IRS tax returns for years or even decades. We get hundreds of calls daily from uncertain and often frustrated tax preparers who are trying to sort out what they need to do to prepare for the exam and to fulfill the newly mandated continuing education requirements. That’s why we’ve created the website just for them.

Preparing for the influx of registered tax preparers, CPE Link has made the search for exam prep courses and qualified CPE much simpler and easier, starting with the dedicated website. In one place, CPE4RTRP.com provides everything the tax preparer needs, presented in clear, straightforward choices.

Convenient, affordable RTRP CPE package. Tax preparers can choose an all-in-one 15-hour package that fulfills the full year’s CPE requirement. They don’t have to search through a lengthy catalog or database of courses to find and select the ones that apply to them because CPE Link has done the work for them.

The courses included in the complete CPE package are all self-study, so users can work at their own pace to complete the required hours by the fast-approaching December 31 deadline. In addition, to make compliance even easier, CPE Link takes care of reporting completed credit hours to the IRS.  Tax preparers who have never done this before are concerned about reporting their credits correctly and on time.

Best exam prep tools. In addition to getting the required CPE completed on time, many RTRPs seek help preparing for the competency exam. CPE Link is making that easier too, by offering the 15-hours of required CPE, plus the best exam prep tools, available in one convenient package. Located on CPE4RTRP.com, the Ultimate RTRP Value Bundle includes the popular RTRP exam-prep webinar series by Tax Mama, Eva Rosenberg. It also provides the exam review manual, with essential tax preparation information, exercises, and practice exam questions, from Wiley, an industry leader in exam preparation materials for CPAs.

Online chat customer service
For tax preparers who have questions about the IRS RTRP requirements related CPE Link course offerings, visitors to CPE4RTRP.com can get their questions answered via online chat with an RTRP-dedicated customer service specialist.

The RTRP requirements can seem complex and overwhelming, and with deadlines looming the stress and uncertainty increases. With CPE4RTRP.com, we’ve done everything we can think of to help alleviate that stress.


As of October 2012, out of nearly 400,000 provisional PTIN holders, more than 320,000 still need to pass the new IRS Registered Tax Return Preparer examination. Starting November 1st, that means they have 14 months to finish their testing by December 31, 2013.

Think about it. That means nearly 22,800 people will need to test during each of the next 14 months – or nearly 1,100 per day (facilities are open 5 days/week) – along with all the other candidate in all the other professions, like nurses, CPAs, firefighters, police officers, etc.

Prometric only offers the RTRP exam in the United States, where they have 263 facilities. That means at least 4 or 5 RTRP candidates should be testing at each facility every day.

That’s manageable – if folks do test in each facility – and if they do start testing immediately. However, Prometric only permits one exam candidate per exam to use the facility at the same time. (In other words, 2 RTRP candidates cannot both be taking the test at the Atlanta facility from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on the same day.) That does limit the parameters even more.

Of course, since most candidates live in or near large urban centers…there’s likely to be quite a scramble for test appointments.

Worse, as a source at Prometric points out, if candidates wait until September or October of 2013 to start testing, Prometric will have a hard time accommodating 300,000 in only three months. (3 months x 4.25 weeks x 5 days/week = 63.75 testing days. 300,000/63.75 = more than 4700 people per day.) Oh sure, spread across all the facilities in the U.S., that only means about 18 people per day. But we all know the concentration will be in the large cities – and there simply won’t be enough seats. Candidates will have to drive 100 miles or more to a facility, or fly to a smaller town, perhaps in another state or country, to locate a seat.

Prometric recommends that if you do plan to wait until the last few months, you reserve your seat right now. At least you’ll be able to get a spot in a testing facility near you. If you end up having to reschedule more than 30 days before your appointment date, you’ll be able to do so at no charge. Less than that? You’ll have to pay a fee to reschedule. (In the last 5 days? You’ll have to pay the full fee all over again.)

Expensive Deadline to Ignore

What happens if they don’t pass the RTRP exam by December 31, 2013?

According to the IRS, on January 1, 2014, provisional PTIN holders will lose their PTINs and be unable to efile; to get paid to prepare a tax return; or to do any substantive work on a tax return for a tax firm. At least not legally.

Folks working for themselves will lose their livelihoods – or they will be forced to hire an RTRP, EA or CPA with an EFIN and PTIN to do the sole practitioner’s job until he or she can pass the exam and qualify. There goes all the profit.

Firms with staff they count on for much of the day-to-day tax work, won’t be able to let those key staff members touch a tax return.

Take the Test, NOW!

There’s really no need to put off the exam. After all, it’s an open-book exam. A tax professional with years of experience should be able to pass the exam relatively easily.

Well, maybe not so easily. There’s a twist to this exam that you won’t expect – and where there is no open book. A big chunk of the exam is on compliance – Circular 230. So study that and the exam will be easy to pass.

Feeling queasy about exam-taking and need help? There are dozens of courses, tools and materials to help you pass the exam.

In fact, I am teaching regular review classes at CPE Link – or you can pick up the self-study version.

What happens if you don’t pass when you take the exam this year or next? Nothing. Sure, you’re out $116 – but you can sit for the exam again, as many times as it takes to pass. So you have nothing to lose but a few hard-earned dollars. At least you’ll be able to continue to earn lots of dollars if you pass.

And remember, even if you only have a provisional PTIN right now, you’re still responsible for the 15 hours of continuing education. You’ll need proof of those CE credits in order to renew your PTIN this year.

Of course, if you’re planning to take the EA exam instead, skip the RTRP exam and study hard to get your EA well before Registered Tax Return Preparer deadline. If you don’t happen to finish all three parts of the EA exam – then you can join the last-minute scramble for the RTRP exam.

Guest blogger, Eva Rosenberg, Tax Mama

For the last 100 years or so of U.S. taxation, there has been absolutely no regulation of tax preparers in most of the United States (about 48 states). This has been an easy field to enter, requiring no minimum education, no minimum training, and no licensing whatsoever.

Literally, anyone at all could open up shop one day and prepare tax returns without having a clue about tax law or procedure, collect fees from clients, and then disappear after tax season. And they did.

That kind of operation gave a bad name to the legitimate, trained tax professionals who did an excellent job, year-after-year. Worse, those fly-by-night outfits were competition for the legitimate tax pros. Since they could generate high refunds for low fees, you were losing clients to these guys.

You couldn’t compete because you were doing an honest job preparing your tax returns – and couldn’t even figure out – what do those guys know about tax law that I don’t? Nothing.

In fact, what many of these places did was just make up deductions and credits to use on tax returns to generate refundable credits. Since you weren’t making up information, you couldn’t get the same results for your clients.

Traveling around the country, seeing this kind of fraud, disturbed Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, so much, that she started a campaign to end this practice. In her reports to Congress, over a span of several years, Olson advocated regulating tax professionals and setting minimum standards and continuing education requirements.

The IRS put the word out to the tax professional community to see what our reaction was. And it was mixed.

Some of us embraced the idea – especially those people in a position to see how many people were not keeping up.

Others, especially those who had been in business for decades, were offended and incensed. Why should they have to test on something they’ve been doing well for years? Besides, who can remember the last time we’ve even taken a test – much less a computerized test?

After hearing from everyone, the IRS decided regulation was needed. There was a crucial need for a minimum level of competency – and an annual education requirement. (They almost applied this testing requirements to CPAs – because they don’t have a minimum requirement for continuing education in taxation.)

Testing – The test has been developed as an open book test.

  • Anyone who has been doing a competent job as a tax professional, and staying up to date on tax laws, should be able to pass.
  • Except for one little twist. A big part of them exam is on Professional Ethics and Standards. It’s based on a publication the average tax preparer has probably never even seen before – Circular 230. And this book is not ‘open’ during the exam.
  • You must pass this exam no later than 12/31/13 in order to stay in business. You will not be permitted to efile or sign tax returns as of 01/01/14 if you are not an RTRP, EA, CPA or attorney.

Education – All RTRPs must complete 15 hours of tax education each and every year. This applies to provisional PTIN holders currently – even if you haven’t passed the exam yet.

  • This isn’t as hard to achieve as you might expect. It’s barely more than an hour per month. (Even if you only take classes in the 8 months outside of tax season, that’s less than 2 hours per month.)
  • Breakdown – 2 hours of ethics, 3 hours of federal tax updates, 10 hours of federal tax education. (Note: extra hours of federal tax updates can be applied towards the 10 hours of federal tax education.)

This is going to be a good thing for the whole industry. It’s going to eliminate your unethical competition down the block. You’ll be better prepared to do your job. And, along the way, you might even learn how to streamline your own tax practice, be more efficient, offer more services – and increase your profits.

Guest blogger: Eva Rosenberg, Tax Mama

RTRPs – You have 83 days remaining to get your continuing education hours for 2012!

Registered Tax Return Preparers (and RTRP candidates) must earn 15 hours of continuing education by December 31, 2012—even if you haven’t taken the IRS competency exam yet.

You must complete: 2 hours of ethics, 10 hours of  federal tax law, and 3 hours of federal tax law updates.

CPE Link offers all the topics you need to satisfy your 15 hour continuing professional education requirement. Choose from live webcasts or online self-study. All courses are registered with the IRS and count towards your annual CPE requirement.

Looking for a quick and easy solution?

CPE Link is currently offering its 15 Hour CPE Package for only $69. These are all online self-study courses. You get instant access to the materials and can take your final exams anytime. You need to score 70% to pass and you get three tries. Once you pass the final exams, you get 10 hours Federal Tax, 2 hours Ethics, 3 hours Federal Tax Law Updates.

The credit hours you earn will be automatically reported to the IRS for you.

The clock is ticking…

As December 31 draws near, CPE Link is hearing from more and more people intending to take the RTRP exam soon. They need help preparing for the IRS exam. And they need their 15 hours of CPE this year!

Above all else, though, this group of tax professionals is really looking for guidance and support. Some are unsure of what they need to do and how it all works. CPE Link customer service takes the time to help this group feel more comfortable as they forge ahead to take their exam and meet their CPE requirements.

And I have to say, they are very appreciative of the help:

“Thanks for your RTRP class. I passed on my first attempt and your class was a big help!!” Robyn from Pennsylvania

“Just a quick note to thank you for your assistance in passing my RTRP exam. I took advantage of your Ultimate value package especially the 2 day resource and Wiley’s. I thought that 1/2 of the exam was hard and 1/2 was very easy. There were a number of questions that immediately came to my head because of things you said during the 2 day course. Thanks again.” Larry from Michigan

“Love Eva! The end of the training went really fast and my head was spinning. I missed some details. Luckily I can go back and listen to the recorded training. This is my first experience with this kind of training and I did enjoy it. ” Jennie from Colorado

“Excellent course and very beneficial. The inside knowledge of the exam and its structure was extremely helpful.” Marlena from Michigan

“Eva is a well qualified instructor and puts forth an attitude that encourages learning. She is just very well liked and knowledgeable. What a combination- Unbeatable.” Doyle from North Carolina

“Eva Rosenberg presented her material in a way that kept my interest. I feel confident that this course will help me pass the exam.” Cynthia from Pennsylvania

CPE Link would like to wish all the RTRPs out there –
Good luck on your exam!

And please let us know how we can help with RTRP exam prep or CPE.