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Judge puts IRS tax preparer regulation on hold

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(Reuters) - A judge on Friday modified an earlier order and said the Internal Revenue Service does not have to shut down a new program for registering and testing tax preparers, but he also said preparers need not take the tests or pay related fees.

In a move to put the IRS program on hold for now, Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered that "the IRS is not required to suspend its ... program." Further legal action is expected.

The same judge had ruled on January 18 that the IRS lacked legal authority to impose rules that represented the agency's first attempt to regulate the tax return preparer industry. That earlier order threw the industry into disarray just days before the beginning this year's tax-filing season.

(Reporting by Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Gary Hill)

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