We've had a running battle here in the sunny San Fernando Valley.
Is the CPE we've been receiving really valid under the US Treasury's Circular 230 guidelines?
What's the issue?
Those famous round-table discussions I've been writing about here and elsewhere, for years.
After lots of posturing and political powering, it turns out, the problem boils down to someone at IRS's Office of Professional Responsbility who feels that roundtable discussions should not qualify for CPE.
Well folks, this is one well worth fighting for - and I ask you to join me.
Why? You have been to CPE courses. Lots of them, over the years.
Have you noticed how the opportunity for questions and answers diminishes with each succeeding year.
As the rules and structures and strictures related to continuing education credit get tighter and tighter, fewer questions are answered during sessions. We are talked at - not to, or with. Look around a crowded seminar room and you will see people asleep, playing with cell phones or computers (some, actually taking notes),...and a lot of glazed looks.
There is SO much material, and so many new laws each year. There is so much new complexity. Even the best courses can only provide guidelines, theory and overview. Until we get into the trenches and face the real-life issues , we often can't even frame our questions. But once out there, tax professionals are adrift. Especially sole practitioners who don't have partners and staff to discuss procedural and ethical issues with.
That's where our roundtable meetings come in. For the 20-60 people who attend each meeting, it's been a lifeline. It's a safe place to bring their substantive questions about how to implement the tax code, deal with ethical dilemmas, get updated on the latest revenue rulings, procedures and cases - and in general, get answers they cannot get anywhere else.
Although I do research each and every day, answering questions as TaxMama and as a journalist, there isn't a single tax roundtable meeting where I don't learn something new. They have been an important place for me to bring questions, as well.
In fact, I feel strongly that every community should arrange to have meetings like this, especially during tax season, where tax pros can get answers to specific questions to ensure they do a good job for their clients.
And OPR thinks this isn't a valuable learning experience?
Nonsense! This is the BEST education I have gotten - even better than college.
Please back me up when I go to OPR and plead our case - and yours.
Eva Rosenberg, EA