WASHINGTON BUREAU — Retirement plan professional groups are asking the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to stick with the current registration process for continuing education (CE) programs.
The plan professional groups – the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA), Arlington, Va.; the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA), Chicago, and the American Institute of Retirement Education L.L.C., Arlington – made their request in a letter commenting on proposed revisions to U.S. Treasury Department Circular 230, a document that sets standards for practice before the IRS.
The revisions would affect conditions that an educational program would have to meet to qualify to provide continuing education credit.
Under the current Circular 230 CE rules, an approved CE sponsor need not submit individual programs to an approval process, even though the IRS has the discretion to review programs individually.
The Circular 230 changes would establish new standards for certifying the instructor, the subject matter, the teaching materials and the attendance verification system for an individual CE program.
“In order to ensure the timely delivery of ‘fresh’ course content, it is critical that the process of assigning program numbers to the individual programs must operate in an efficient and effective manner,” the plan professional groups say in their letter.
“We recommend that an internet-based registration process be used to allow a qualifying sponsor to immediately receive a continuing education program number when registering a particular course or products,” the groups say.
A more effective use of IRS resources than reviewing courses one by one would be to periodically review or audit courses by the qualifying sponsors as part of the process of retaining and renewing the sponsor’s approved status, the groups say.-