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IRS Begins PTIN Renewals For 2012 Filing Season

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

25 October 2011


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that the 738,000 tax return preparers in the United States who have Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) can now renew them for the 2012 filing season.

Preparers are required to renew their PTINs on an annual basis and need to do so before the next year begins. For example, a preparer’s PTIN for 2012 must be renewed by December 31, 2011.

Anyone who, for compensation, prepares, or helps prepare, all or substantially all of tax returns or claims for refunds must have a PTIN. Paid return preparers must have valid, current PTINs to prepare tax returns in 2012. The PTIN renewal fee for 2012 is USD63, and the initial application fee for a PTIN remains at USD64.25.

Preparers who are applying for a PTIN for the first time go through a strict authentication procedure. Those who prepared, or helped prepare, returns for compensation in 2011 without PTINs must obtain 2011 PTINs and then renew their PTINs for 2012, paying fees for each year if they intend to practice next year. Penalties may apply for paid tax return preparers who prepared, or helped prepare returns in 2011 without valid PTINs.

Taxpayers who use a paid return preparer are urged to choose a return preparer with a valid PTIN. Return preparers should sign the returns they prepare for taxpayers and enter their PTINs on the returns.

In 2010, the IRS launched an initiative to increase its oversight of the tax return preparation industry, and regulate the conduct of tax return preparers. All paid tax return preparers must obtain a PTIN and, when required to do so, sign their names and include their PTINs on the returns and refund claims they prepare.

Starting on July 7, 2011, the IRS began to send letters to about 100,000 tax return preparers who either used out-dated PTINs or used social security numbers as identifying numbers on returns they prepared this filing season. The letters explain the new oversight programme, inform preparers of how to register for a new PTIN, or renew an old PTIN, and where to get assistance.

“The vast majority of federal tax return preparers complied with the rules," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman in July. "Obviously, some preparers did not get the word, so these letters provide additional information so they can register as soon as possible. We owe it to the compliant tax preparers to make sure that everyone is on a level playing field.”

TAGS: individuals | compliance | tax | tax compliance | fees | Internal Revenue Service (IRS) | United States | individual income tax

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