2014-03-17T231555Z_1_CBREA2G1SMP00_RTROPTP_2_USA-TAXES

U.S. tax preparer rules land in Congress, tough road ahead

Signs at a H&R Block office are seen in ChicagoBy Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An Obama administration push to clean up the tax preparation industry has landed in Congress where it is expected to stall, meaning further delays to rules to stamp out shoddy and deceptive tax preparers who are a drain on the U.S. Treasury and taxpayers. After setbacks in the courts, the Obama administration this month asked Congress to pass a law that would specifically empower the Internal Revenue Service to regulate preparers, from sector leader H&R Block Inc to thousands of mom-and-pop shops. The IRS had argued for years it did not need legislation to do this, but small-government activists recently prevailed in court in their effort to block the tax agency’s attempts on its own to impose new regulations on up to 700,000 tax preparers. Concurring with the activists, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last month that Congress never gave the IRS the power to impose test-taking and continuing education requirements on tax-return preparers.

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