In the class action suit of Steele v. United States, the Court ruled that the IRS would be required to return an estimated $270 million in “user fees” charged to Americans in what a U.S. District Court determined was an unlawful expansion of the agency’s authority.
In 2010, the Treasury Department and the IRS issued a tangle of new regulations, including a requirement that tax preparers register for a specific ID number (PTIN) to be entered on all returns. For anyone who had previously been preparing tax returns for others without a state-sanctioned “professional” preparer’s status, this new regulation required them to pass a competency exam before receiving the required PTIN.
After paying the required fees to take the exam and the costs associated with the mandated annual IRS “education courses,” preparers would then have to purchase the mandated PTIN from the IRS. The initial charge was $64.25, and renewal costs were $63. In 2015, the fee was lowered to $50.