IRS Considers PTIN Privacy Concerns
The IRS is fine-tuning procedures for collecting and releasing the information they gather during Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) registration, hoping to reduce concerns prepares have about their privacy. Many tax preparers have expressed their frustration again PTIN-holder directories, privately-owned online directories not endorsed by the IRS, and their concern that the database the IRS plans to develop to list Registered Tax Return Preparers, may be just as frustrating. Preparers do not want their email addresses released because they don’t want to see an increase in spam, nor do they want their physical address released as a lot of them run their tax practice out of their home. The IRS cannot prohibit privately-owned online directories from releasing preparer information due to free enterprise, and indicates that concerns with private sector sites should be directed to the site contacts rather than the IRS as they have no control over their practices.
The IRS is considering options to safeguard preparer information that will be available in a publicly searchable database created by the IRS that will allow taxpayers to verify if their tax preparer meets IRS standards and to search for tax preparers in their area. It will list all valid PTIN holders who have professional credentials, – CPAs, Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and Registered Tax Return Preparers – and is expected to be available sometime around May 2013.