Reaching Out to Preparers

Outreach and education is an important part of our tiered strategy to improve the accuracy of refundable credit claims. It is an important tool to help you prepare accurate claims for the earned income tax credit (EITC), the additional child tax credit, (ACTC) and the American opportunity tax credit (AOTC). We focus on providing you with educational resources to help you understand tax law and your due diligence responsibilities.

Letters to Preparers

Another tier in our outreach and educational efforts is letters directed to specific preparers. We look at the number of returns with a high likelihood of refundable credit errors completed by the same preparer. And, we send letters to preparers who have a high number of these returns. We send letters based on the previous filing season  before the filing season starts and we send letters during the filing season for the current year.

The letters:

  • state we believe the preparer completed inaccurate  claims,
  • highlight the consequences of preparing inaccurate  claims,
  • outline preparer due diligence responsibilities,
  • provide tips on preparing accurate returns and point to online refundable credit tools, information and other resources, and
  • inform preparer that we are monitoring their future returns.


Return Preparers who complete highly questionable refundable credit claims may receive one or more of the following letters: 

Pre-Filing Season


  • Letter 5025-A (PDF) You may not have met your due diligence requirements on returns claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)
    • Letter 5025-A (SP) en Español (PDF)--we are working to make this downloadable for everyone please check back later in the week


  • Letter 5025-B (PDF) You may not have met your due diligence requirements on returns claiming the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC)
    • Letter 5025-B (SP) en Español (PDF)--available soon





Filing Season



I Received a Warning Letter; What Should I Do?

If you get a letter from us, don’t ignore it. Review your office procedures to make sure you meet all four due diligence requirements. If you receive this letter, we will continue to monitor the refundable credit returns you prepare. If the quality of the returns you prepare doesn’t improve, you may be subject to special follow-up procedures mentioned below in “Additional Steps.” This includes the possibility of an on-site audit or a Due Diligence Compliance Audit.

Additional Steps

We send the letters to help preparers complete accurate refundable credit claims in the future. We do not assess penalties against preparers at the time we send the letters, but we do monitor the refundable credit returns filed by these preparers to ensure accuracy improves. If there is no improvement, we may follow-up with phone calls, additional letters, educational visits or due diligence compliance audits. See "Additional Resources" below for more information on these steps.

Additional Resources

Educational Opportunities for Avoiding EITC Error

We reach out to preparers and provide education and other resources to help you avoid refundable credit errors and help you practice due diligence. This Return Preparer Toolkit has a wealth of resources:

  • Take the online Due Diligence Training Module, to help you refresh your refundable credit  tax law and due diligence knowledge. The training is available in English and Spanish and may qualify you for continuing education credit.
  • Learn how to meet your due diligence requirements while preparing returns with self-employment income using our Schedule C and Record Reconstruction Training. Plus, get tips on helping your clients reconstruct their business records.
  • View the popular Due Diligence Videos to help you avoid common error situations and improve your due diligence interview process.
  • Attend our seminars or view archived sessions from the Nationwide Tax Forums.
  • Visit the Frequently Asked Questions for guidance to the right answer to similar questions you have. 
  • Use the headings on the left navigation bar for more tips and tools to help you avoid refundable credit error.


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