The Justice Department is arguing an 1884 law about horses lost or killed in the Civil War gives it the legal authority to regulate tax preparers. A Reuters account of the action before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit noted the department’s Tax Division used the “Horse Act of 1884” as providing the needed authority.
The attempt by the Internal Revenue Service to regulate preparers and require those who do not hold CPA or Enrolled Agent credentials or who are tax attorneys to take competency tests and take continuing education course was thrown out this year by a federal judge. The case was brought by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian advocacy law firm, on behalf of three tax preparers.
The description of the 1884 law notes the government regulated agents who pursued claims of lost horses for a fee after claim values were fraudulently inflated. The law certified honest ones as “Enrolled Agents”, the title for those who represent clients before the IRS.