IRS Preparer Compliance Initiative 

    Formerly referred to as the "10,000 Letters" program

    As an integral part of the IRS' ongoing efforts to enhance oversight of the tax return preparer community and provide educational outreach to tax preparers, the IRS is continuing its "IRS Letters and Visits" program.

    For the 2012 filing season campaign, the IRS sent approximately 21,000 letters to tax practitioners and they are planning to conduct approximately 2,100 compliance visits (compared to 2,500 visits out of 10,000 letters last year).  The AICPA had referred to this as the IRS "10,000 Letters" program but is now using the term "IRS Preparer Compliance Initiative" to more accurately reflect the IRS' change in scope, scale and approach.

    Recipients of the 21,000 letters (Letter 4809) for the current initiative were selected from a pool of tax return preparers who prepared a large number of 2010 individual income tax returns with Schedules A, C or E.  The letters were sent to preparers during the middle of November.  Visits are expected to start shortly and will continue through April 15, 2012.  However, following complaints from the AICPA that practitioners were getting visits during tax season, visits to CPAs are expected to conclude in early January.

    The AICPA continues to monitor this issue closely and work with IRS officials to address members' concerns.

    Program Overview

    • The goal of the IRS program is to ensure that paid tax return preparers are assisting taxpayers appropriately. 
    • The IRS sent approximately 21,000 letters and plans to conduct approximately 2,100 compliance visits.
    • The tax return preparer's designation was not a factor in determining who received a letter or who is selected for a visit.
    • Visits are expected to start in November, 2011, and be completed by April 15, 2012.
    • Preparers will be notified if they are selected for a visit by telephone.
    • Visits will take place at the tax preparer's place of business.

    Our Advocacy Efforts

    The AICPA discussed with the IRS and challenged various components of the program, including visiting CPAs during tax season and the seemingly random process of choosing letter and visit recipients.

    • On October 29, 2010, the AICPA submitted a letter to the IRS suggesting how to make the program more effective.
    • In a December 22, 2010 letter to the IRS the AICPA reiterated concerns about the broad scope of the "Preparer Letters and Visitation program."
    • David Williams met with the IRS Practice and Procedures Committee in May, 2011 to discuss changes to the program.
    • Discussions with the IRS regarding the current initiative continue.

    IRS Resources

    According to the IRS, this program is their "hands-on effort to improve the accuracy and quality of filed tax returns and to heighten awareness of preparer responsibilities."

    • 2012 Letters and Visits: Frequently Asked Questions 
    • Text of 2012 Return Preparer Letter
    • Information on the 2012 Filing Season visits    

    NOTE: On November 19, 2011, the IRS released the following note in response to concerns raised about the letters

    We have received numerous inquiries and feedback about the recent Letters 4809 we sent to some preparers.  The intent of the letter was to notify certain preparers that some clients' returns contained entries far beyond average ranges.  We are reviewing the feedback we have received and will follow up with additional communications soon.

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