You may be wondering just what all those letters after our names mean. You may also have noticed we are not CPA's. Certified Public Accountant is a very broad license, while we at Granite Point Tax Group have chosen to focus specifically on income taxes. The EA, LTC, and LTP designations each require rigorous testing as well as extensive continuing education in issues relating to taxation. In an increasingly complex world, we feel that focusing on a single niche allows us to provide a higher level of service than we could if we were distracted with other accounting issues.
Enrolled Agent - The Enrolled Agent designation indicates that the IRS recognizes the individual as an expert in the field of income taxes and therefore will allow that individual to represent and negotiate on behalf of taxpayers at all levels of the IRS. To become an EA you must pass a very difficult 4-part test and attend a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education per year, including at least 2 hours of ethics training.
Licensed Tax Consultant - Paid tax preparers in the state of Oregon are regulated by the Board of Tax Practitioners. The LTC designation is the highest level of recognition. To become an LTC it is necessary to work at least 2 years as an LTP and pass a very in-depth exam similar to the EA exam, but also covering issues specific to Oregon taxation. LTCs are required to attend at least 30 hours of continuing education per year and are allowed to operate a business.
Licensed Tax Preparer - To become an LTP you must complete at least 80 hours of income tax education and pass a difficult exam. An LTP is only allowed to work for an attorney, CPA, or LTC, but is subject to the same continuing education requirements as the LTC.
Registered Tax Return Preparer - In 2011 the IRS implemented rules requiring all paid preparers of federal income tax forms not already covered by Circular 230 (attorneys, CPAs, and EAs) to pass an exam on basic income tax issues and ethical considerations and register as a return preparer. In early 2013 the courts told the IRS they do not have the authority to do this, so the RTRP licensing program has been converted into a voluntary program called the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). It appears this program has also been challenged in court. Stay tuned.