On Monday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted (PDF) the U.S. government’s motion to dismiss the American Institute of CPAs’ (AICPA) lawsuit challenging the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) voluntary education and testing program for non-CPA tax preparers.
Last year, in Loving v. IRS, Judge James Boasberg invalidated the IRS’s attempt to impose mandatory testing and continuing education through its Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) designation, which would have imposed registration, testing and continuing education requirements on non-CPA tax preparers. The plaintiffs argued that the IRS exceeded its statutory authority in imposing mandatory requirements.
After losing that case on appeal, the IRS debuted the voluntary Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP), which included training and an online database where taxpayers can find qualified preparers. The AICPA filed suit to end the program, arguing that it, too, constituted an unlawful exercise of government power. AICPA President & CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, called it an “end run” around Loving v. IRS. But Boasberg said that the AICPA lacked standing and would not be harmed by a voluntary program.
The AICPA has not decided whether to appeal the ruling.