Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I recently satisfied the 4 Continuing Education credits required for my ongoing registration as a tax preparer for the State of New York.  This is the second year that this requirement has been in place.  Prior to that all one had to do to be allowed to prepare NY State tax returns for compensation was to pay a $100 extortion fee.  This fee still remains.
FYI – each invoice given to a client for whom I prepare a NY State tax return includes a separately identified $5.00 line item charge for “New York State Tax Preparer Extortion Fee Surcharge”.
And another FYI – CPAs, attorneys, and EAs are exempt from this requirement.  So the State of New York does not care if CPAs or attorneys who prepare tax returns for compensation know their arse from a hole in the ground when it comes to federal or state tax law.  Actually the main reason CPAs and attorneys are exempt is that New York State already gets a registration fee from them for accounting and law license renewals.  EAs had to fight to be exempt.
Some things were different this year -
·      Last year there were 5 individual topics.  This year one had to take 10 separate topics – 9 required and 1 chosen from a group of 4 options.
·      Last year the “classes” were webinars – one had to listen to video presentations of the various topics.  This year each subject was presented in a “power-point-like” printed presentation.
One thing was the same.  The whole process was, for the most part, a total waste of time.  The information presented was for 2015 returns – the returns prepared this past tax season.  They were not for the upcoming 2016 returns – so I have absolutely no idea if there is anything new for the returns I will be preparing beginning next February. 
While I will admit there was some perhaps worthwhile review of items of importance, on the whole it was either redundant (same information as last year or information included in other CPE offerings I have taken on federal issues) or outdated.  To be perfectly honest I learned absolutely nothing new. 
I will admit that my areas of interest for NY returns is limited – I only do about 20 relatively basic individual NY resident or non-resident returns.  I no longer accept new clients, so I would not need to expand my knowledge of NY state issues.  I did not pay attention to any information that did not pertain to returns or issues that would concern my clients or my situation.
Also like last year, while I was asked questions in the course of the 10 “sessions”, it was not really a test.  It was a multiple choice format.  If I got an answer wrong I was told so and given the correct answer.  There was no “consequence” for initially selecting a wrong answer.  I have no problem with this.
Because of the new format completing the “education” took less time than last year.  And, as was also true last year, there was no charge for the “classes”.  So I wasted less time than last year and again no money.
As I had said in last year’s evaluation post, I would have very much liked to have learned what, if anything, was new for IT-201s and IT-203s for 2016.  But, again like last year, I will have to wait for the New York State update presentation at the January state tax update workshop offered by the NJ chapter of NATP.

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