There is no doubt that any registration/licensure legislation will require at least 2 hours of CPE credits in “Ethics” each and every year.
Currently just about every single state and federal tax update class I attend has 2 hours devoted to “Ethics”, as the annual requirement apparently applies to CPAs and EAs. That means two hours less of actual tax knowledge being presented at each offering. If I am paying for 8 hours of CPE I am actually only getting 6 hours (or really 5 hours as a CPE hour = 50 minutes).
In many cases the topic is either first up in the afternoon or the last of the day – so I can either take a longer lunch or leave early. Other times I just zone out.
I have been preparing tax returns for about 38 years, without incident. If I do not have ethics by now sitting through 2 hours ain’t going to make me ethical. If I am so inclined to be unethical in my practice listening to a speaker tell me what is wrong is not going to make me “see the light”.
I do listen to one of the presentations maybe every other year to see if there are any new wrinkles.
I do believe that there should be some questions on ethics in any initial proficiency examination required of new preparers. And perhaps a requirement of 1 hour of CPE credit on ethics every other year as an update couldn’t hurt.
If tax preparer organizations and other CPE providers must offer 2 hours on ethics annually please limit it to the year-end update class. Don’t take 2 hours away from real learning at each and every offering!