PTIN Requirements for Tax Return Preparers

 

 

 

PTIN Requirements for Tax Return Preparers

Anyone who prepares or assists in preparing federal tax returns for compensation must have a valid 2015 PTIN before preparing returns.  A PTIN may be obtained online at www.irs.gov or by submitting Form W-12.  The online process takes about 15 minutes and the fee is $64.25 for a first time applicant and $63.00 for an annual renewal.  It is important to note that, if you apply by submitting Form W-12, it will take 4-6 weeks to process.  By applying online, you will receive your PTIN almost immediately.

Applying for a PTIN

Step 1 - Before you begin your PTIN application, be sure you have the following available:

  • 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 felony convictions (if any).
  • Explanations for problems with your U.S. individual or business tax obligations (if any).
  • Credit or debit card for the $64.25 PTIN user fee.
  • If applicable, any U.S.-based professional certification information (CPA, attorney, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, enrolled actuary, certified acceptance agent, or state license) including certification number, jurisdiction of issuance, and expiration date.

Step 2 - Create Your Account

You must create an account by providing your name, email addres and security question information.  The IRS system will then email your temporary password.  You will change your temporary password when you return to enter your information in the PTIN application.

Step 3 - Apply for Your PTIN

The application is completed by providing personal information, information about your previous year's tax retrun, professional credentials, and other information from Step 1.

Step 4 - Pay Your Fee

The application will transfer you to the IRS partner bank where you will make your payment of $64.25 by credit card or direct debit.

Step 5 - Get Your PTIN

After the bank confirms your payment, your PTIN is provided online.

Applying for Your PTIN at the End Of the Year

If you are applying for your PTIN for the first time at the ende of the year AND you will not prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns for compensation for the remainder of the current year, you should apply for the following year. Otherwise you will have to pay the fee for the rest of the current year and pay the renewal fee when you renew for the next year.

However, if you are planning on participating in the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) in the following year, you must have a current PTIN and complete the continuing education necessary by December 31 of the current year.  For more information on the AFSP requirements, check out our AFSP FAQs # 1 video.

Renewing Your PTIN

All PTINs expire on December 31 of each year. If you already have a PTIN, you will need to renew it every year if you want to prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns for compensation. You can renew your PTIN online at www.irs.gov or by submitting Form W-12.

Before you begin your PTIN renewal application, be sure you have the following available:

  • Personal information (name, mailing address).
  • Business information (name, mailing address).
  • Explanations for felony convictions (if any).
  • Explanations for problems with your U.S. individual or business tax obligations (if any).
  • Credit or debit card for the $63.00 PTIN user fee.
  • If applicable, any U.S.-based professional certification information (CPA, attorney, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, enrolled actuary, certified acceptance agent, or state license) including certification number, jurisdiction of issuance, and expiration date.

Don’t forget…if you want to prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns for compensation, you must have a PTIN and you must renew every year.