A PTIN To Become A Tax Preparer
January 1, 2011, the IRS has required all paid tax preparers to
have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) before filing any
tax returns. Tax preparers must obtain a PTIN and include it on
all tax returns they sign. Tax preparers who don't sign tax
returns and are supervised by a Certified Public Accountant,
attorney or Enrolled Agent are exempt from this regulation.
PTINs cannot be shared, even by tax
preparers in the same tax office. Every individual who, for
compensation, prepares or assists in the preparation of a tax
return or claim for refund must have his or her own PTIN and each
tax preparer may obtain only one PTIN. The IRS says that if you
are paid to prepare or to help prepare a tax return - even if you
don't sign it - you must get a PTIN. The key factor is whether you
take any action or make any decision that affects the outcome of
the tax return.
Tax preparers apply for a PTIN by submitting
their personal information including their Social Security Number, a
previous year's tax return, and the annual fee of $50 fee to the
IRS. The application will require the tax preparer to disclose and explain any
felony convictions or problems with his or her tax obligations.
Tax preparers applying for a PTIN must be at least 18 years of age. PTINs are issued for
one calendar year and must be renewed annually.
Tax preparers who have been issued
a PTIN but are not CPAs, attorneys, or Enrolled Agents are known
as Un-enrolled Preparers, and possess the minimum qualifications
required to prepare certain types of federal tax returns.
Failure to have a PTIN each year
could result in the imposition of Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §
6695 penalties, an injunction, and/or disciplinary action by the
IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, against the tax
6695(c) - Failure to Furnish Tax Preparers Identifying Number. The penalty
is $50 for each failure to comply with IRC § 6109(a)(4) regarding
furnishing an identifying number (PTIN) on a return or claim. The maximum
penalty imposed on any tax preparer shall not exceed
$25,500 in a calendar year.
Further information is contained in
our publication Federal Due Diligence Requirements.
What is the difference between a
PTIN and an EFIN? Does a tax preparer need both?
A PTIN is a number issued by the
IRS to individual paid tax preparers. It is used as the tax preparer's
identification number and, when applicable, must be placed in the
Paid Preparer section of a tax return that the tax preparer
prepared for compensation.
An Electronic Filing Identification
Number (EFIN) is a number issued by the IRS to individuals or
firms that have been approved as authorized IRS e-file
It is included with all electronic return data transmitted to the
IRS. There is no fee for an EFIN.
PTINs are issued to individual
EFINs are issued to individual tax preparers and/or tax
preparation firms. Solo tax preparers need
both. Tax preparers working for firms need a PTIN, as ordinarily
they will be e-filing returns using the firm's EFIN.
Need To Get Started
Before you begin your PTIN application, be sure you have the
following information available:
- Social Security Number
information (name, mailing address, date of birth)
- Business information (name,
mailing address, telephone number)
- Previous year's individual tax
return (name, address, filing status) 1
- Explanations for any felony
- Explanations for problems with
your U.S. individual or business tax obligations (if any) 2
- Credit or debit card for the
$50.00 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
1 Tax return information is
required to authenticate your identity. If you filed your tax
return in the past 8 weeks, use a previous year's
individual tax return.
2 Felony convictions and discrepancies with your federal tax
obligations may affect your ability to obtain a PTIN.
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gather all of your information, you'll just follow four easy steps
to obtain your PTIN:
Create Your Account -
First, you must create an account by providing your name, email
address and security question information. The system will then
email your temporary password, which you will change when you go
back to enter your information in the PTIN application.
Apply for Your PTIN -
You will complete the online application by providing personal
information, information about your previous year's tax return,
professional credentials, and more as shown above.
Pay Your Fee - The
application will transfer you to the IRS's partner bank where you will
make your payment of $50.00 by credit card or direct debit.
Get Your PTIN - After
the bank confirms your payment, your PTIN is provided online.
Note: All PTIN
correspondence is delivered through secure online messaging into
your PTIN account. Use your most up-to-date email address when
obtaining your PTIN, to ensure that you receive the IRS's email
notices letting you know there is a secure online message in
your PTIN account.
How to I sign up for a new PTIN?
issued for a specific calendar year, and must be renewed annually.
A current year PTIN refers to a PTIN for the current calendar year
while a next year PTIN refers to a PTIN for the upcoming calendar
year. They are not interchangeable, i.e. you cannot use a 2016
PTIN to file tax returns in 2017. PTIN applications for the
upcoming year cannot be submitted until mid-October of each year.
When purchasing your PTIN be sure to select the correct calendar
year from the drop down box.
You can get a PTIN online in about 15 minutes. First you must
create an account. Go to the online PTIN system and click on
"New User": https://rpr.irs.gov/datamart/registration.do
Follow the prompts to complete the
account setup process and obtain a temporary password. Then use
your User ID and temporary password to login to the system. Your
User ID is the email address you used when you created your
account. You will be prompted to change your password upon logging
in for the first time.
If you have questions you may call us or you may call the PTIN
Account Information Line:
PTIN Account Information Line -
Toll-Free: 877-613-PTIN (7846) TTY: 877-613-3686 Toll Number for
International Callers: +1 915-342-5655
Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (CST)
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