BECOME A CERTIFIED TAX RESOLUTION SPECIALIST
The Certified Tax Resolution Specialist designation is awarded to individuals who have met the educational, experience, and examination requirements prescribed by ASTPS. The CTRS designation is restricted to Enrolled Agent, CPA or Attorney ASTPS Members in good standing, who has proven expertise to resolve a wide range of tax problems. The services a CTRS provides to individuals and businesses include securing Offers In Compromise, Installment Agreements, Penalty Abatement, Innocent Spouse Relief, Release of Liens or Levies, Non-Filer issues and many others. Tax problem resolution is a unique area of professional practice that addresses a problem that affects a tremendous number of American citizens and residents.
Practice opportunities abound for a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist in all areas of the country and are growing. The reason is simple: Congress has ordered the IRS to return to their primary function; the collection of taxes. The new Commissioner was appointed for his expertise in this area. The federal government is funding military actions on several fronts, a war on terror, and homeland security. At the same time, tax revenues they enjoyed during the dot-com boom have evaporated now that reality has imposed on the securities markets.
The Certified Tax Resolution Specialist designation allows taxpayers to identify experts in tax problem resolution. The ASTPS Board of Regents administers the Certification Program. The Board of Regents is the final authority in making decisions related to the Certification Program. The Certified Tax Resolution Specialist (CTRS) designation is only awarded to Enrolled Agents, CPAs, and Attorneys who meet the requirements.
A Certified Tax Resolution Specialist must exhibit high moral and professional character. Because a CTRS represents clients before various taxing authorities to negotiate favorable solutions to their tax problems a reputation for truthfulness, credibility and adherence to ethical principle are mandatory.
The Uniform CTRS Examination
The examination will be made available to qualified candidates upon submission of an Application for Examination that reflects a candidate's eligibility. The examination must be completed and returned for grading within 30 days. The examination is a reliable test to determine a candidate's competence in tax problem resolution. A list of appropriate study materials is available to candidates. One hundred hours of study, or equivalent knowledge is recommended before sitting for the exam. The CTRS exam consists of two parts: 150 objective questions covering all areas of IRS Problem Resolution, the second, a comprehensive case problem requiring preparation of a tax problem case for resolution. Examinations will be changed periodically and updated to insure integrity. Once completed and returned, the examination will be graded and you will be notified of the results.
The educational courses conducted by ASTPS will cover many of the subject areas to be tested on the Uniform Examinations. Prior to and while taking the examination, you should reference to the Practitioners Publishing Company (PPC) "Dealing with the IRS" 2-Volume Set.
Taking the Exam
When you are prepared to take the exam, make formal application on the form provided by the Board of Regents to sit for CTRS examination and pay the exam fee. Complete the exam and return it for grading within 30 days. Completion of your application must include attestation of having met the requirements to sit, a sworn agreement to complete the examination without assistance from any other person and your agreement to keep the exam contents confidential.
Retaking the Exam
If you do not pass all parts on the first attempt, you may sit for the failed parts later when you feel adequately prepared. However, you are limited to three attempts consisting of the first exam, and two retakes. If not all parts are passed by the time you have taken the original test and two re-exams, you will be required to attend an IRS Tax Problem Resolution Boot Camp, and start the examination process over from the beginning. There is also a time limit, as all parts must be passed within twenty-four months of the first exam date. A separate reduced exam fee applies to retakes.
The Grading Process
In order to pass the examination, a score of 75% on each section is required. Exam scores are not released when a passing grade is not achieved. Old exams are not released. These procedures are strictly maintained to assure the integrity of the examination process. A subcommittee of the Board of Regents grades completed exams. The candidate's identity is unknown to the subcommittee during the grading process. The Board also reviews the exams and is responsible for making any necessary adjustments.
Bylaws & Code of Professional Ethics
In order to maintain your status as a CTRS, you must agree to abide by the Rules of Practice, ASTPS Organizational Bylaws and Code of Professional Ethics.