A Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) is an estate planning technique particularly attractive in a low interest rate environment such as we are experiencing. It allows an individual to make large gifts without paying gift tax or using any unified credit. Many families have used short-term GRATs to shift appreciation to beneficiaries with no estate or gift tax cost.
Right now, any person may prepare a federal tax return for any other person for a fee. There are no licensing requirements. Some tax return preparers, like lawyers and accountants, are licensed by their states and some are enrolled to practice before the IRS. However a very large share of tax return preparers do not pass any government or professionally mandated competency requirements before they prepare a federal tax return.