PTIN System Accepting Applications
The Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) system is now ready to accept applications, new and renewal, for 2014.
Over the next two months, roughly 690,000 federal tax return preparers must go online and renew their PTIN – all current PTINs will expire on December 31. An IRS-issued PTIN must be used as the identifying number on tax returns by anyone who, for compensation, prepares or helps prepare any federal return or claim for refund.
The renewal fee is $63, and the process can be easily completed online at www.irs.gov. If you can’t remember your user ID and password, the website can help you recover or reset your credentials. Those registering for the first time can also complete the process online. The first time application fee is $64.25.
The IRS is encouraging preparers to renew their PTIN as soon as possible to avoid the last-minute rush. All current PTIN holders will receive a “reminder” email from the IRS in the near future. The online process is much quicker than the paper process - Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number Application and Renewal, is available for paper applications and renewals, but takes four to six weeks to process. In addition, the IRS has made a number of enhancements to improve the online user experience:
- A fully functional “Manage My Account” tool allows preparers to edit their account information online at any time. Prior to this, a phone call to the IRS helpdesk was required for changes made outside of the renewal period.
- Preparers can now view their completed continuing education (CE) programs reported by IRS-approved providers beginning with 2013 courses. CE Providers report completed CE programs to the IRS based on the preparer’s PTIN number. The IRS reminds preparers that it only displays what providers have reported. If a course is missing, contact the CE provider directly.
- Paid preparers (who are not Enrolled Agents) can now make their PTIN inactive if they plan to take a full year off. When they return, they can reactivate the same number online. This should only be used by preparers who are taking a full year off and don’t plan to prepare returns during any part of the year.
- PTIN holders will now receive more secure email messages directly from TaxPro_PTIN@irs.gov. Be sure the email is actually from this address, and don’t hesitate to report suspicious email by following the directions at Report Phishing at IRS.gov.
Failure to have and use a valid PTIN may result in penalties. In addition, all Enrolled Agents, regardless of whether they prepare returns, must have a PTIN in order to maintain their status. For more information about requirements for federal tax professionals and access to the online PTIN system, go to www.irs.gov/ptin.