IRS rule threatens to shut down the small businesses that prepare tax returns

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Small business owners who prepare tax returns for a living every year must either seek additional training or close their doors due to a new Internal Revenue Service regulation set to take effect at the end of this year.

“Despite a federal lawsuit filed in March by three independent tax preparers and the Institute for Justice (IJ), the IRS refuses to budge on its December 31 deadline for roughly 350,000 tax-return preparers to comply with a mandatory continuing-education requirement, which will be followed next year by an IRS-mandated exam,” IJ’s Dan Alban writes at Doublethink Magazine (which I edit).

“Unless the judge intervenes, many tax preparers—perhaps tens of thousands—are expected to close their doors rather than comply with these costly and time-consuming regulations that could waste up to 5 million man-hours,” Alban adds.

IJ points out that the regulation is a gift for big tax preparation businesses. “Not surprisingly, large tax preparation firms lobbied for this new licensing scheme,” Alban writes, noting that the rule could shut down mom-and-pop shops, to the advantage of big businesses.

Alban’s argument comes as so surprise to readers of The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney, who has often debunked the myth that large companies are relentless antagonists of government regulators by pointing out numerous ways that “Big Business profits from Big Government in ways they wouldn’t profit in a freer market.”


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