Some enrolled agents are taking the RTRP exam so they can add the RTRP designation to their name. The logic being, “registered tax return preparer” is more palatable to the public than “enrolled agent.”
But I don’t intend to take the RTRP exam.
While no one knows what an EA is, I can honestly say I’ve never lost a client because of my designation, and it hasn’t hurt me in terms of picking up new clients.
I think most people see the letters after my name and know it means something good. But I also don’t think they care that much about it.
That’s just my personal experience. Approximately 85-90% of my clients come from referrals, either from existing clients, various not-for-profits that I help, or from other professionals such as financial advisors in my circle of contacts. Each year, I get a few clients who find this website while searching for a central Iowa tax preparer. But otherwise, I build organically through referrals.
So when people come to me, they already are confident in my abilities because a friend or trusted advisor is recommending me. They know I have a designation, which I suppose adds some more peace of mind, but I don’t think too many clients care about the specifics of my designation.
Taking the RTRP exam may be more beneficial for an EA who is in an area with a lot of RTRPs, or if the EA is always having to compete with RTRPs for clients.
To be honest, I’m not really hearing a lot of “buzz” about the RTRP designation here in Iowa, anyway.
So as of now, I won’t be taking the RTRP exam. But I reserve the right to change my mind as the landscape of preparer regulation becomes clearer over the next few years.