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Mandatory electronic filing for paid preparers?

October 30, 2009

The IRS plans to require paid preparers to e-file returns unless their clients specifically opt out, Tax Analysts reports ($link):

Paid tax return preparers will soon be required to e-file, David Williams, director of the IRS Office of Electronic Tax Administration, said October 29. Speaking at an American Institute of Certified Public Accountants conference in Washington, Williams also discussed the challenges and benefits of the modernized e-filing system (MEF) that is scheduled to become operational for the most commonly used forms in the 1040 family on February 17, 2010.

Williams said agreement has been reached in the Senate to include in legislation to extend the first-time home buyer credit a mandate for paid return preparers to use e-filing. He said the mandate could allow achievement of the 80 percent e-filing goal originally set by Congress for 2007.

One more reason not to like that bill.

Taxpayers who use paid preparers will be allowed to opt out of e-filing, Williams said, adding that he thinks many will do so. He declined, however, to comment on how an opt-out might be documented or how the mandate might be enforced.

It might be like some state-mandated e-filing opt-outs, where the taxpayer has to sign a form saying they don't want to e-file. Proud pencil-and-paper holdout Robert D. Flach is likely to have some interesting thoughts on this.

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How right you are!

Check out tomorrow's (Saturday, October 31, 2009) BUZZ.


If I admit that I'm in favor of mandatory e-file, with the tax community burn me at the stake?

Monica - Like you, I try to stay out of "flame" wars, including those involving stakes (steaks are another matter entirely).

I prefer to e-file, myself, but it's nice to have the option. On multi-state returns so often you can't e-file, and it's confusing for the client when they have to e-file some and paper file the others.

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