Return Preparer Regulations - Overview
New regulations for paid preparers are rolling out in phases:
Phase 1: PTINs for Everyone
Beginning January 1, 2011, all paid preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number before preparing returns. Also, all enrolled agents are required to have a PTIN. You can sign up for your PTIN online or by paper application. It costs $64.25 per year. To submit a first-time PTIN application, view this checklist to get started.
PTIN renewal and registration for 2013 remain available.
To renew your PTIN online, just follow four easy steps:
- Access Your Account — If you don't remember your password or user ID, click the Forgotten Password or Forgotten User ID buttons.
- Renew Your PTIN — Complete the online renewal application. You must verify your personal information and answer a few new questions. View a checklist of what you need before you get started.
- Pay Your Fee — Pay the $63 renewal fee via credit card or direct debit.
- View Your Next Steps — Review your next steps, including any testing and continuing education requirements. Remember to renew your PTIN each calendar year.
If you don’t have an online PTIN account, you can renew using a paper Form W-12 marked “renewal”. You can also call the PTIN Help Line to request an online activation code and instructions for creating an online account and linking it to your existing information. It only takes about 15 minutes to sign up or renew online and receive your PTIN. If you opt to use the paper application, Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Application, it will take 4-6 weeks to process.
Phase 2: Additional Requirements for Some Preparers
Some preparers have additional requirements in addition to obtaining a PTIN.
- Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, and Enrolled Agents who are active and in good standing with their licensing agency have no additional requirements other than to:
- Renew their PTIN annually.
- Supervised Preparers* and Non-1040 Preparers** need to:
- Renew their PTIN annually.
* Supervised Preparers are those who do not sign returns and who are employed by attorney, CPA or EA firms and are supervised by an attorney, CPA or EA.
** Non-1040 preparers are those who do not prepare any Form 1040 series returns. Note: Form 1040-PR and 1040-SS are not considered Form 1040 series returns for this purpose.
- All other preparers need to:
Note: Those who have a provisional PTIN have until the end of 2013 to take and pass the RTRP test, but the continuing education requirement begins in calendar year 2012.
The IRS is also considering requiring certain tax return preparers to undergo a background check as part of PTIN requirements. Preparers will be contacted if they are required to undergo a background check in the future, and any updates on background check requirements will be posted on this webpage.
View a summary of the return preparer requirements.