Anyone who prepares, or assists in preparing, substantially all of a federal tax return, or claims for refund for compensation, must have a valid PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) from the IRS and must have the PTIN used as the identifying number on the return.
The annual fee is $50. First time or renewal registration takes about 15 minutes, and can be done online or on paper by filing Form W-12 (takes four to six weeks to process). There are more than 715,000 federal tax return preparers.
All PTINs expire on Dec. 31 and must be renewed for the following year.
The IRS has established a new Annual Filing Season Program to encourage non-credentialed tax return preparers to voluntarily take continuing education courses to increase their knowledge and improve their filing season readiness. More information on the types and amounts of CE required for the program is available at www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Annual-Filing-Season-Program.
For additional PTIN information, click here.