The IRS established several new requirements for CE Sponsors starting in 2012, including reporting CE earned by PTIN. BestCPE is now required to request the preparer tax identification number (PTIN) for each student. If you enter a PTIN when you register, we will report your hours to the IRS regardless of what type of professional license you have. If you do not enter a PTIN, we will not report your hours to the IRS.
After we submit our list of credit earned by name and PTIN number, the IRS cross-checks the PTIN number to check for validity. We then receive a notice of invalid PTIN number and have the opportunity to submit corrected information.
We collect your email address and your primary phone number at registration so that we can contact you if there is a discrepancy.
Summary of IRS Sponsor CE Reporting Requirements
During the first nine months of the year, program completion information must be reported quarterly at a minimum (by March 31, June 30, and September 30). During the fourth quarter (October 1 –December 31), program completion information must be reported within ten days of completion of each program.
The IRS usually updates PTIN accounts overnight, so hours should be visible on the day after BestCPE submits the information.
Courses from BestCPE are not accepted byt the California Tax Education Council (CTEC)
BestCPE Reports CE courses completed to the IRS
In accordance with IRS CE Provider requirements, BestCPE will report your courses completed and CE hours earned to the IRS directly. We upload an electronic file to the IRS, rather than sending in actual certificates of completion. The information reported to the IRS is:
- First and last name of student
- Preparer tax identification number (PTIN)
- Program number
- CPE hours
- CE program completion date
We do ask for your PTIN number when you enroll in a course, as required by the new CE reporting requirements.
Verification of correct reporting of CE hours
PTIN holders can log into their PTIN account to review CE hours reported to the IRS, so you can verify that the correct number of CPE hours has been logged to your account. Please contact us if you notice a discrepancy and we will immediately correct any errors. Most errors and omissions of PTIN hours is due to one of the following:
PTIN does not exist. This can occur if:
- you enter your EA license number or some other number in your FunCPE student profile
- there is a typo in the PTIN or if you use the letter "O" instead of a zero "0."
- the PTIN is not the right length or missing the letter "P" following by 8 numbers in the format: P12345678
- you obtain a new PTIN, it takes up to 2 weeks for that PTIN to be active in the IRS system--if we submit your CE hours before your new PTIN is active, we get this message.
PTIN / name mismatch. This can occur if you have changed your name, and the name we have in your student profile is different from the IRS name on your PTIN account. It can take several weeks for the IRS to update your name if you send in the name change request. Also, not punctuation is allowed in your name, so omit any hyphens, commas apostrophes or periods when you enter your name in the Student Profile of the BestCPE course system.
How to verify your PTIN and name on the account
Login to your PTIN account to verify the name on the account, and make sure that matches the name in your BestCPE student profile. When we report your hours, we only use your first and last name, not your middle name or middle initial.
Call the PTIN hotline to verify what is on your account: PTIN Hotline contact info
What CPE hours are shown in your PTIN account
Note that only 2013 and following years CE hours are shown in your PTIN account. Although BestCPE started reporting your hours earned in 2012, the IRS elected not to display any 2012 hours in your PTIN account. To view your hours from a previous year, you must use a drop down menu selection. For example in the year 2015, you must use a drop down that says "2013" or "2014" to view the prior year CPE hours reported.
Enrolled Agents do not have to mail in the CE Certificates with license renewal
Although you will still report total CE hours earned for each year in your reporting cycle on your renewal Form 8554, you do not mail in your certificates of completion to the IRS. You should keep your certificates in a file, as the IRS does have the right to select you for a CPE audit, in which case they would request copies of these CPE certificates.
You can always come back to bestcpe.com to reprint your certificates, even after your course is completed or expired.
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Proof of CPE hours earned will most likely be required to be sent to the IRS, in the form of copies of CPE certificates. The IRS will notify you by mail if they require you to send copies of certificates.
What if I don't have a PTIN number?
Effective 1/1/12, all Enrolled Agents must have a PTIN. Since we provide continuing education to over 30 types of professionals, many of our students to not prepare tax returns and therefore do not have a PTIN number. Our course registration system allows you to enter "none" in the PTIN field if you do not have one.