Special Enrollment Examination User Fee for Enrolled Agents, 4221-4223 [2016-01629]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 16 / Tuesday, January 26, 2016 / Proposed Rules as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points. The Proposal The FAA is proposing an amendment to Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 71 by removing Class D airspace at Pearson Field Airport, Vancouver, WA. FAA Joint Order 7400.2K states that if non-towered airports requiring a surface area, the airspace will be designated Class E. There is no operating control tower at Pearson Field Airport, Vancouver, WA, which would remove the necessity of the Class D airspace. Class D airspace designations are published in paragraph 5000 of FAA Order 7400.9Y, dated August 6, 2014, and effective September 15, 2014, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class D airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Regulatory Notices and Analyses The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore: (1) Is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a ‘‘significant rule’’ under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Environmental Review This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, ‘‘Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures’’ prior to any FAA final regulatory action. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71 Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air). The Proposed Amendment Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, the Federal VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:48 Jan 25, 2016 Jkt 238001 Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows: PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for 14 CFR part 71 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959–1963 Comp., p. 389. § 71.1 [Amended] 2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: ■ Paragraph 5000 Class D Airspace. * * * * ANM WA D * Vancouver, WA [Removed] Issued in Seattle, Washington, on January 19, 2016. Mindy Wright, Acting Manager, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center. [FR Doc. 2016–01415 Filed 1–25–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [REG–134122–15] RIN 1545–BN09 Special Enrollment Examination User Fee for Enrolled Agents Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of public hearing. AGENCY: This document contains proposed amendments to the regulation relating to the user fee for the special enrollment examination to become an enrolled agent. The charging of user fees is authorized by the Independent Offices Appropriations Act (IOAA) of 1952. This document also contains a notice of public hearing on this proposed regulation. The proposed regulation affects individuals taking the enrolled agent special enrollment examination. SUMMARY: Written or electronic comments must be received by February 24, 2016. Requests to speak and outlines of topics to be discussed at the public hearing DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 4221 scheduled for February 25, 2016, must be received by February 24, 2016. ADDRESSES: Send submissions to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG–134122–15), Room 5203, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044. Submissions may be hand-delivered between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG–134122–15), Courier’s Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC, or sent via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov (IRS REG–134122– 15). The public hearing will be held in the IRS Auditorium, Internal Revenue Building, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Concerning this proposed regulation, Jonathan R. Black, (202) 317–6845; concerning submissions of comments and/or requests for a hearing, Regina Johnson (202) 317–6901 (not toll-free numbers). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background and Explanation of Provisions Section 330 of title 31 of the United States Code authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to regulate the practice of representatives before the Treasury Department. Pursuant to section 330 of title 31, the Secretary has published regulations governing practice before the IRS in 31 CFR part 10 and reprinted the regulations as Treasury Department Circular No. 230 (Circular 230). Circular 230 is administered by the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). Section 10.4(a) of Circular 230 authorizes the IRS to grant status as enrolled agents to individuals who demonstrate special competence in tax matters by passing a written examination (Enrolled Agent Special Enrollment Examination (EA–SEE)) administered by, or under the oversight of, the IRS and who have not engaged in any conduct that would justify suspension or disbarment under Circular 230. Starting in 2006, the IRS engaged the services of a third-party contractor to develop and administer the EA–SEE. After becoming enrolled, an enrolled agent must, as provided in § 10.6(d), renew enrollment every three years to maintain active enrollment and to be able to practice before the IRS. To qualify for renewal, an enrolled agent must certify the completion of the continuing education requirements set forth in § 10.6(e). There are currently approximately 55,600 enrolled agents. E:\FR\FM\26JAP1.SGM 26JAP1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 4222 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 16 / Tuesday, January 26, 2016 / Proposed Rules The EA–SEE is comprised of three parts, which are offered in a testing period that begins each May 1 and ends the last day of the following February. The EA–SEE is not available in March and April, during which period it is updated to reflect changes in the relevant law. When it determined the current fee, the IRS estimated that individuals would take 34,000 parts of the EA–SEE each year. That number of parts has not been reached in any year. In the testing periods beginning in 2012, 2013, and 2014, the contractor administered approximately 18,900, 19,500, and 22,400 parts of the EA–SEE, respectively. During the testing period beginning May 2016, the IRS estimates that individuals taking the EA–SEE will take 20,000 parts. More information on the EA–SEE, including content, scoring, and how to register, can be found on the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov/TaxProfessionals/Enrolled-Agents/. The Independent Offices Appropriations Act (IOAA) of 1952, which is codified at 31 U.S.C. 9701, authorizes agencies to prescribe regulations that establish charges for services they provide. These charges include user fees. The charges must be fair and must be based on the costs to the government, the value of the service to the recipient, the public policy or interest served, and other relevant facts. The IOAA provides that regulations implementing user fees are subject to policies prescribed by the President, which are currently set forth in the Office of Management and Budget Circular A–25, 58 FR 38142 (July 15, 1993) (the OMB Circular). The OMB Circular encourages user fees for government-provided services that confer benefits on identifiable recipients over and above those benefits received by the general public. Under the OMB Circular, an agency that seeks to impose a user fee for government-provided services must calculate the full cost of providing those services. In general, a user fee should be set at an amount that allows the agency to recover the full cost of providing the special service, unless the Office of Management and Budget grants an exception. As discussed above, Circular 230 § 10.4(a) provides that IRS will grant enrolled agent status to an applicant if the applicant, among other things, demonstrates special competence in tax matters by written examination. The EA–SEE is the written examination that tests special competence in tax matters for purposes of that provision, and an applicant must pass all parts of the EA– SEE to be granted enrolled agent status through written examination. The IRS confers a benefit on individuals who VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:48 Jan 25, 2016 Jkt 238001 take the EA–SEE beyond those that accrue to the general public by providing them with an opportunity to demonstrate special competence in tax matters by passing a written examination and therefore satisfying one of the requirements for becoming an enrolled agent under Circular 230 § 10.4(a). Because the opportunity to take the EA–SEE is a special benefit, IRS charges a user fee to take the examination. Pursuant to the guidelines in the OMB Circular, the IRS has calculated its cost of providing examination services under the enrolled agent program. The proposed user fee will be implemented under the authority of the IOAA and the OMB Circular and will recover the full cost of overseeing the program. The current user fee is $11 to take each part of the EA–SEE. The contractor who administers the EA–SEE also charges individuals taking the EA–SEE an additional fee for its services. For the May 2015 to February 2016 testing period, the contractor’s fee is $98 for each part of the EA–SEE. Increased costs incurred by the IRS to implement the EA–SEE program require an increase in the EA–SEE user fee. These increased costs are primarily attributable to the following: (1) The cost for background checks required under Publication 4812, ‘‘Contractor Security Controls,’’ for individuals working at the contractor’s testing centers increased by $270,000 per year; (2) the IRS estimates that the contractor will administer 14,000 fewer parts of the EA–SEE per year than the estimated number used to calculate the $11 fee, and the total costs are therefore being recovered from fewer individuals; and (3) the IRS’s costs of verifying the contractor’s compliance with the information technology security requirements necessary to protect the personally identifiable information of individuals taking the EA–SEE have increased, because Publication 4812 has strengthened those requirements. In addition, IRS original estimates of the cost to oversee the contract did not cover all the work the IRS now performs. The proposed fee more accurately accounts for the time and personnel necessary to oversee the development and administration of the EA–SEE and to ensure the contractor complies with the terms of its contract. IRS costs for oversight include costs associated with: (1) Review and approval of materials used by the contractor in developing the EA–SEE; (2) review of surveys of existing enrolled agents, which help to determine the topics to be covered in the EA–SEE; (3) composition of PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 potential EA–SEE questions in coordination with the contractor’s external tax law experts; (4) Office of Chief Counsel review and revision of the potential questions for legal accuracy; and (5) analysis of the answers and raw scores of a testing population to determine what should be a passing score. Further, IRS personnel ensure the contractor’s compliance with its contract by reviewing the work of the contractor using an annual Work Breakdown Structure—a project management tool—and reviewing and verifying that the contractor is in compliance with its Quality Assurance Plan regarding customer satisfaction and accuracy. The IRS incurs additional costs associated with resolution of testrelated issues such as cheating incidents, appeals regarding scores, refund requests, and customer service complaints that have not been resolved at the contractor level. Taking into account the full amount of these costs, the user fee for the EA– SEE is proposed to be increased to $99 per part. Special Analyses Certain IRS regulations, including this one, are exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 12866, as supplemented and reaffirmed by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, a regulatory assessment is not required. It also has been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to this proposed regulation. Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6), it is hereby certified that this proposed regulation, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it primarily affects individuals who take the enrolled agent examination and does not directly affect small entities. Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Internal Revenue Code, this notice of proposed rulemaking has been submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact on small business. Comments and Public Hearing Before this proposed regulation is adopted as a final regulation, consideration will be given to any comments that are submitted timely to the IRS as prescribed in the preamble under the ADDRESSES section. The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments on all aspects of the proposed regulation. All comments E:\FR\FM\26JAP1.SGM 26JAP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 16 / Tuesday, January 26, 2016 / Proposed Rules submitted will be made available at www.regulations.gov or upon request. A public hearing has been scheduled for February 25, 2016, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the IRS Auditorium, Internal Revenue Building, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC. Due to building security procedures, visitors must enter at the Constitution Avenue entrance. All visitors must present photo identification to enter the building. Because of access restrictions, visitors will not be admitted beyond the immediate entrance area more than 30 minutes before the hearing starts. For information about having your name placed on the building access list to attend the hearing, see the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble. The rules of 26 CFR 601.601(a)(3) apply to the hearing. Persons who wish to present oral comments at the hearing must submit written or electronic comments and an outline of the topics to be discussed and the time to be devoted to each topic by February 24, 2016. A period of 10 minutes will be allocated to each person for making comments. An agenda showing the scheduling of the speakers will be prepared after the deadline for receiving outlines has passed. Copies of the agenda will be available free of charge at the hearing. Drafting Information The principal author of this regulation is Jonathan R. Black of the Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration). List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 300 Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, User fees. Proposed Amendments to the Regulations Accordingly, 26 CFR part 300 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 300—USER FEES Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 300 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 31 U.S.C. 9701. Par. 2. Section 300.4 is amended by revising paragraphs (b) and (d) to read as follows: mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS ■ § 300.4 Enrolled agent special enrollment examination fee. * * * * * (b) Fee. The fee for taking the enrolled agent special enrollment examination is $99 per part, which is the cost to the government for overseeing the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:48 Jan 25, 2016 Jkt 238001 development and administration of the examination and does not include any fees charged by the administrator of the examination. * * * * * (d) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date of publication of a Treasury decision adopting this rule as a final regulation in the Federal Register. Karen M. Schiller, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. [FR Doc. 2016–01629 Filed 1–25–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830–01–P DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 60 RIN 2900–AP45 Fisher Houses and Other Temporary Lodging Department of Veterans Affairs. Proposed rule. AGENCY: ACTION: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend its regulations concerning Fisher House and other temporary lodging furnished by VA while a veteran is experiencing an episode of care at a VA medical facility. Such lodging is generally furnished to veterans’ relatives, close friends, and caregivers at no cost, because VA’s experience has shown that veterans’ treatment outcomes are improved by having loved ones nearby. The proposed rule updates current regulations and better describes the application process for this lodging. The proposed rule generally reflects current VA policy and practice. DATES: Comment Date: Comments must be received by VA on or before March 28, 2016. ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted by email through http:// www.regulations.gov; by mail or handdelivery to Director, Regulation Policy and Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to (202) 273–9026. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to ‘‘RIN 2900– AP45, Fisher Houses and Other Temporary Lodging.’’ Copies of comments received will be available for public inspection in the Office of Regulation Policy and Management, Room 1068, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays). Please call SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 4223 (202) 461–4902 for an appointment. (This is not a toll-free number.) In addition, during the comment period, comments may be viewed online through the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at http:// www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael T. Kilmer, Chief Consultant, Care Management and Social Work Services (10P4C), Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461–6780. (This is not a toll-free number.) SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VA’s program for providing temporary lodging for certain individuals is authorized by section 1708 of title 38, United States Code (U.S.C.). Under section 1708, VA ‘‘may furnish [certain] persons . . . with temporary lodging in a Fisher [H]ouse or other appropriate facility in connection with the examination, treatment, or care of a veteran under [chapter 17].’’ This authority to provide temporary lodging assists VA in providing appropriate treatment and care to veterans because patients often respond better when they are accompanied by relatives, close friends, or caregivers. Thus, providing temporary lodging is an important element of a veteran’s treatment. VA implemented its authority under section 1708 in 38 CFR part 60. However, the current regulation no longer accurately describes the process by which VA approves requests for Fisher House or other temporary lodging. This proposed rule would amend the regulations to describe the current process. The application process for Fisher House or other temporary lodging is described in 38 CFR 60.15. We propose to amend § 60.15, because the application process has substantially changed. Section 60.15(a) currently states that VA Form 10–0408A is ‘‘the application for Fisher House and other temporary lodging.’’ That section also gives instructions for obtaining and filing the specified form. Although we will continue to accept applications submitted on Form 10–0408A until this proposed regulation takes effect, VA has discontinued the use of this form in favor of a process that requires the requester to contact specified personnel directly for capture in the requester’s electronic health record of all information that would have been included on the form. This process has already improved the efficiency of evaluating requests for Fisher House and other temporary housing for several reasons. VA facilities cannot practicably store paper E:\FR\FM\26JAP1.SGM 26JAP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 16 (Tuesday, January 26, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 4221-4223]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-01629]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Internal Revenue Service

26 CFR Part 1

[REG-134122-15]
RIN 1545-BN09


Special Enrollment Examination User Fee for Enrolled Agents

AGENCY: Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of public hearing.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This document contains proposed amendments to the regulation 
relating to the user fee for the special enrollment examination to 
become an enrolled agent. The charging of user fees is authorized by 
the Independent Offices Appropriations Act (IOAA) of 1952. This 
document also contains a notice of public hearing on this proposed 
regulation. The proposed regulation affects individuals taking the 
enrolled agent special enrollment examination.

DATES: Written or electronic comments must be received by February 24, 
2016. Requests to speak and outlines of topics to be discussed at the 
public hearing scheduled for February 25, 2016, must be received by 
February 24, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Send submissions to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-134122-15), Room 
5203, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, 
Washington, DC 20044. Submissions may be hand-delivered between the 
hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-134122-15), Courier's 
Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC, or sent via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at 
www.regulations.gov (IRS REG-134122-15). The public hearing will be 
held in the IRS Auditorium, Internal Revenue Building, 1111 
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Concerning this proposed regulation, 
Jonathan R. Black, (202) 317-6845; concerning submissions of comments 
and/or requests for a hearing, Regina Johnson (202) 317-6901 (not toll-
free numbers).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background and Explanation of Provisions

    Section 330 of title 31 of the United States Code authorizes the 
Secretary of the Treasury to regulate the practice of representatives 
before the Treasury Department. Pursuant to section 330 of title 31, 
the Secretary has published regulations governing practice before the 
IRS in 31 CFR part 10 and reprinted the regulations as Treasury 
Department Circular No. 230 (Circular 230). Circular 230 is 
administered by the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
    Section 10.4(a) of Circular 230 authorizes the IRS to grant status 
as enrolled agents to individuals who demonstrate special competence in 
tax matters by passing a written examination (Enrolled Agent Special 
Enrollment Examination (EA-SEE)) administered by, or under the 
oversight of, the IRS and who have not engaged in any conduct that 
would justify suspension or disbarment under Circular 230. Starting in 
2006, the IRS engaged the services of a third-party contractor to 
develop and administer the EA-SEE.
    After becoming enrolled, an enrolled agent must, as provided in 
Sec.  10.6(d), renew enrollment every three years to maintain active 
enrollment and to be able to practice before the IRS. To qualify for 
renewal, an enrolled agent must certify the completion of the 
continuing education requirements set forth in Sec.  10.6(e). There are 
currently approximately 55,600 enrolled agents.

[[Page 4222]]

    The EA-SEE is comprised of three parts, which are offered in a 
testing period that begins each May 1 and ends the last day of the 
following February. The EA-SEE is not available in March and April, 
during which period it is updated to reflect changes in the relevant 
law. When it determined the current fee, the IRS estimated that 
individuals would take 34,000 parts of the EA-SEE each year. That 
number of parts has not been reached in any year. In the testing 
periods beginning in 2012, 2013, and 2014, the contractor administered 
approximately 18,900, 19,500, and 22,400 parts of the EA-SEE, 
respectively. During the testing period beginning May 2016, the IRS 
estimates that individuals taking the EA-SEE will take 20,000 parts. 
More information on the EA-SEE, including content, scoring, and how to 
register, can be found on the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Enrolled-Agents/.
    The Independent Offices Appropriations Act (IOAA) of 1952, which is 
codified at 31 U.S.C. 9701, authorizes agencies to prescribe 
regulations that establish charges for services they provide. These 
charges include user fees. The charges must be fair and must be based 
on the costs to the government, the value of the service to the 
recipient, the public policy or interest served, and other relevant 
facts. The IOAA provides that regulations implementing user fees are 
subject to policies prescribed by the President, which are currently 
set forth in the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-25, 58 FR 
38142 (July 15, 1993) (the OMB Circular). The OMB Circular encourages 
user fees for government-provided services that confer benefits on 
identifiable recipients over and above those benefits received by the 
general public. Under the OMB Circular, an agency that seeks to impose 
a user fee for government-provided services must calculate the full 
cost of providing those services. In general, a user fee should be set 
at an amount that allows the agency to recover the full cost of 
providing the special service, unless the Office of Management and 
Budget grants an exception.
    As discussed above, Circular 230 Sec.  10.4(a) provides that IRS 
will grant enrolled agent status to an applicant if the applicant, 
among other things, demonstrates special competence in tax matters by 
written examination. The EA-SEE is the written examination that tests 
special competence in tax matters for purposes of that provision, and 
an applicant must pass all parts of the EA-SEE to be granted enrolled 
agent status through written examination. The IRS confers a benefit on 
individuals who take the EA-SEE beyond those that accrue to the general 
public by providing them with an opportunity to demonstrate special 
competence in tax matters by passing a written examination and 
therefore satisfying one of the requirements for becoming an enrolled 
agent under Circular 230 Sec.  10.4(a). Because the opportunity to take 
the EA-SEE is a special benefit, IRS charges a user fee to take the 
examination.
    Pursuant to the guidelines in the OMB Circular, the IRS has 
calculated its cost of providing examination services under the 
enrolled agent program. The proposed user fee will be implemented under 
the authority of the IOAA and the OMB Circular and will recover the 
full cost of overseeing the program. The current user fee is $11 to 
take each part of the EA-SEE. The contractor who administers the EA-SEE 
also charges individuals taking the EA-SEE an additional fee for its 
services. For the May 2015 to February 2016 testing period, the 
contractor's fee is $98 for each part of the EA-SEE.
    Increased costs incurred by the IRS to implement the EA-SEE program 
require an increase in the EA-SEE user fee. These increased costs are 
primarily attributable to the following: (1) The cost for background 
checks required under Publication 4812, ``Contractor Security 
Controls,'' for individuals working at the contractor's testing centers 
increased by $270,000 per year; (2) the IRS estimates that the 
contractor will administer 14,000 fewer parts of the EA-SEE per year 
than the estimated number used to calculate the $11 fee, and the total 
costs are therefore being recovered from fewer individuals; and (3) the 
IRS's costs of verifying the contractor's compliance with the 
information technology security requirements necessary to protect the 
personally identifiable information of individuals taking the EA-SEE 
have increased, because Publication 4812 has strengthened those 
requirements.
    In addition, IRS original estimates of the cost to oversee the 
contract did not cover all the work the IRS now performs. The proposed 
fee more accurately accounts for the time and personnel necessary to 
oversee the development and administration of the EA-SEE and to ensure 
the contractor complies with the terms of its contract. IRS costs for 
oversight include costs associated with: (1) Review and approval of 
materials used by the contractor in developing the EA-SEE; (2) review 
of surveys of existing enrolled agents, which help to determine the 
topics to be covered in the EA-SEE; (3) composition of potential EA-SEE 
questions in coordination with the contractor's external tax law 
experts; (4) Office of Chief Counsel review and revision of the 
potential questions for legal accuracy; and (5) analysis of the answers 
and raw scores of a testing population to determine what should be a 
passing score.
    Further, IRS personnel ensure the contractor's compliance with its 
contract by reviewing the work of the contractor using an annual Work 
Breakdown Structure--a project management tool--and reviewing and 
verifying that the contractor is in compliance with its Quality 
Assurance Plan regarding customer satisfaction and accuracy. The IRS 
incurs additional costs associated with resolution of test-related 
issues such as cheating incidents, appeals regarding scores, refund 
requests, and customer service complaints that have not been resolved 
at the contractor level.
    Taking into account the full amount of these costs, the user fee 
for the EA-SEE is proposed to be increased to $99 per part.

Special Analyses

    Certain IRS regulations, including this one, are exempt from the 
requirements of Executive Order 12866, as supplemented and reaffirmed 
by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, a regulatory assessment is not 
required. It also has been determined that section 553(b) of the 
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to 
this proposed regulation.
    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6), it 
is hereby certified that this proposed regulation, if adopted, would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities because it primarily affects individuals who take the enrolled 
agent examination and does not directly affect small entities. 
Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. 
Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Internal Revenue Code, this notice 
of proposed rulemaking has been submitted to the Chief Counsel for 
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact 
on small business.

Comments and Public Hearing

    Before this proposed regulation is adopted as a final regulation, 
consideration will be given to any comments that are submitted timely 
to the IRS as prescribed in the preamble under the ADDRESSES section. 
The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments on all aspects of 
the proposed regulation. All comments

[[Page 4223]]

submitted will be made available at www.regulations.gov or upon 
request.
    A public hearing has been scheduled for February 25, 2016, 
beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the IRS Auditorium, Internal Revenue 
Building, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC. Due to building 
security procedures, visitors must enter at the Constitution Avenue 
entrance. All visitors must present photo identification to enter the 
building. Because of access restrictions, visitors will not be admitted 
beyond the immediate entrance area more than 30 minutes before the 
hearing starts. For information about having your name placed on the 
building access list to attend the hearing, see the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble.
    The rules of 26 CFR 601.601(a)(3) apply to the hearing. Persons who 
wish to present oral comments at the hearing must submit written or 
electronic comments and an outline of the topics to be discussed and 
the time to be devoted to each topic by February 24, 2016. A period of 
10 minutes will be allocated to each person for making comments.
    An agenda showing the scheduling of the speakers will be prepared 
after the deadline for receiving outlines has passed. Copies of the 
agenda will be available free of charge at the hearing.

Drafting Information

    The principal author of this regulation is Jonathan R. Black of the 
Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration).

List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 300

    Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, User fees.

Proposed Amendments to the Regulations

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 300 is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 300--USER FEES

0
Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 300 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  31 U.S.C. 9701.

0
Par. 2. Section 300.4 is amended by revising paragraphs (b) and (d) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  300.4  Enrolled agent special enrollment examination fee.

* * * * *
    (b) Fee. The fee for taking the enrolled agent special enrollment 
examination is $99 per part, which is the cost to the government for 
overseeing the development and administration of the examination and 
does not include any fees charged by the administrator of the 
examination.
* * * * *
    (d) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after 
the date of publication of a Treasury decision adopting this rule as a 
final regulation in the Federal Register.

Karen M. Schiller,
Acting Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2016-01629 Filed 1-25-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4830-01-P