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The United States’ Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reminded professional tax return preparers to renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) if they plan to prepare returns in 2013, as their current identification numbers expire on December 31, 2012.
Anyone who prepares or helps prepare all or substantially all of a federal tax return, claim for refund or other federal forms for compensation must have a valid PTIN. All enrolled agents also must have a PTIN. The annual registration and renewal requirement is part of the IRS’s ongoing effort to enhance the tax preparer profession and improve services to taxpayers.
Preparers who need to take a competency test are encouraged to schedule an appointment while they are renewing their PTIN. The registered tax return preparer (RTRP) test can be scheduled up to six months in advance, depending on the location.
The other option available to those required to test is the Special Enrollment Exam which is a three-part test to become an enrolled agent (EA). EA status is the highest credential the IRS awards.
The online PTIN system has been substantially upgraded. Those renewing their PTINs can complete the process in about 15 minutes, with a renewal fee of USD63. New tax return preparers who are obtaining a first-time PTIN must create an online PTIN account as a first step, and then follow directions on the IRS website to obtain a PTIN. Their fee is USD64.25.
The IRS recently created the new credential - registered tax return preparer. Individuals in this category must meet the RTRP testing and continuing education requirements. So far, there are more than 48,000 preparers who have earned RTRP certificates, and there has also been an increase in the number of people taking the EA exam.
From January 1, 2014, only registered tax return preparers, EAs, certified public accountants and lawyers will be authorized to prepare and sign federal individual returns.
There are currently 739,000 tax preparers with 2012 PTINs. Approximately 350,000 of them are subject to the new testing and education requirements.
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