CTEC Getting Strict on Continuing Education Providers
By Tim Frye
CTEC(California Tax Education Council) is in charge of making sure tax preparers are competent and up to professional standards every year. CTEC is directing much more scrutiny on those continuing education providers that help tax preparers get their continuing education hours in order to prepare taxes every year. It seems that CTEC has noticed that many of these continuing education courses are outlined in a way that is just too easy for the tax preparers to complete. Obviously, the course provider can gain the upper hand by authoring a program that a tax preparer can fly through and complete his required hours. And this preparer will go tell his friend how simple this course was and business will be booming for this tax course provider. So there are obvious reasons why a course provider would want to make things easy for the consumer. This article will take a look at the increasingly stringent CTEC continuing education provider provisions and how they will affect the authors of these courses.
CTEC Revises Standards for Continuing Education Course Providers
The CTEC program for continuing education certainly differs from the now placed on hold Federal RTRP(which has been placed on hold) program that was established by IRS regulations. Many people confuse the IRS continuing regulations office with the CTEC, and they are in fact two very distinct organizations. The CTEC was established many years before the IRS RTRP program and will continue regardless of whether the IRS folds or not. CTEC requirements of fifteen federal hours and five state hours were amended to correlate with the IRS requirements.
There are many new education provisions and standards that were adopted by CTEC at a November 2012 meeting. Changes become effective the first of January 2013. The CTEC requirements were revised to match the standards required by the IRS RTRP program.
Here are some of the new educations standards and policies:
-Standards for determining self-study awards-Policy CP13
-Random provider audits-Policy CP28
-Shortened CE reporting requirements-Policy CP06
-Reviewer discretion to reject overly simplistic course-Policy CP18
-Limitations on the use of Federal & State Publications-Policy CP24
New Interactive Requirements from the CTEC
The CTEC is also providing more oversight on the continuing education providers in terms of their interactive nature, and has a list of provisions regarding interactivity and they are as follows:
-Minimum of three questions per review for each applicable credit hour
-There must be feedback to incorrect responses
-Reinforcement feedback must be sent and correct responses must be provided
-The True or False questions are acceptable when calculating the 3 question minimum
-Any multiple choice questions must include at least 4 possible responses
-There must be five multiple choice questions included per credit hour
-The test must correlate directly to the program’s learning objectives
-A passing score is considered 70% or better
-The examination’s answers cannot be given to the students before they pass the course
-Upon the completion of the exam, only the answers specific to missed questions should be provided.