Since Jan.1, 2011, all paid preparers have been required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) to do returns.
Those who hold a provisional PTIN are required to pass the registered tax return preparer (RTRP) competency test by the end of 2013.
According to the IRS's most recent figures, there are 739,061 tax preparers holding 2012 PTINs. Of those, about 350,000 need to be or need to get into compliance with the new testing and continuing education requirements the IRS has instituted.
2012 PTINs expired Dec. 31, 2012.
Professional preparers must renew their PTINs if they are doing returns in 2013.
According to the IRS, "Anyone who prepares or helps prepare all or substantially all of a federal tax return, claim for a refund or other federal forms for compensation must have a valid PTIN. All enrolled agents also must have a PTIN".
Tax professionals go to www.irs.gov/ptin to get a new PTIN or renew your expired one.
If you are one of the 350,000 who need your credentials in line with the new IRS requirements and you haven't done so yet, you can schedule a competency test while renewing your PTIN.
The registered tax return preparer (RTRP) competency test is for the latest credential the IRS has created. RTRP status requires 15 hours of continuing education every year.
Over 48,000 preparers have earned the RTRP certificate.
To get a new PTIN, you first must create an online PTIN account and then follow directions to get the PTIN. The fee is $64.25.
To renew a PTIN takes about 15 minutes, there is assistance available for forgotten user names, passwords and email addresses and the fee is $63.
Here is the IRS' PTIN information checklist. Be sure you have these before you get started:
- Social Security Number
- Personal information (name, mailing address, date of birth)
- Business information (name, mailing address, telephone number)
- Previous year's individual tax return (name, address, filing status)
- Explanations for any felony convictions
- Explanations for any problems with your U.S. individual or business tax obligations
- Credit or devit card for the $64.25 PTIN user fee
- Your supervisor's PTIN, if applicable
- Any applicable U.S. - based professional certification information
As of Jan. 1, 2014, only registered tax return preparers (RTRP), enrolled agents (EA), CPAs and attorneys can prepare federal individual returns.
Due to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 1966, the following PTIN holder information can be disclosed: Your name and your business's name, website address, phone number, mailing address and email address and your professional credentials.
The IRS has changed the "Permanent Mailing Address" part of the application to "Personal Mailing Address". This notes the information as personal and therefore not subject to disclosure if the FOIA is invoked.
If you use your personal mailing address as your business mailing address it is subject to disclosure.
All above information was obtained from the IRS website.