Specific Instructions

Table of Contents

    Line 1.   Enter your legal name. This entry should reflect your name as it appears on your tax return and as it will be entered on tax returns that you are paid to prepare. If you are renewing your PTIN, enter the PTIN you received after you first filed Form W-12.

    Line 2.   Enter your complete personal mailing address and phone number.

    Note.

    If the U.S. Postal Service will not deliver mail to your physical location, enter the U.S. Postal Service post office box number for your mailing address. Contact your local U.S. Post Office for more information. Do not use a post office box owned by a private firm or company. Most PTIN correspondence will be sent to your email address. However, any paper PTIN correspondence will be sent to the personal mailing address listed on line 2.

    Line 3.   Enter your social security number (SSN) and date of birth. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to apply.

    Applying without a SSN.

    If you do not have an SSN because you are either a foreign person or a U.S. citizen who is a conscientious religious objector, you will need to complete and submit an additional form along with Form W-12. Also, because of the documentation that must accompany the submission, you must send the additional form and documentation by mail. See the instructions below that pertain to your circumstance.

    U.S. citizen who is a conscientious religious objector.

    If you are a U.S. citizen who does not have an SSN because you have a conscientious religious objection to having an SSN, you must complete an additional form as part of the PTIN application process. The form you must complete is Form 8945, PTIN Supplemental Application For U.S. Citizens Without a Social Security Number Due To Conscientious Religious Objection. On Form 8945, you will verify information about your identity, citizenship, and conscientious religious objection. See Form 8945 for instructions on completing and submitting the form and the required documents.

    Foreign persons.

    If you are a foreign person who does not have an SSN, you must complete an additional form as part of the PTIN application process. A foreign person is an individual who does not have and is not eligible to obtain a social security number and is neither a citizen of the United States nor a resident alien of the United States as defined in section 7701(b)(1)(A). The form you must complete is Form 8946, PTIN Supplemental Application For Foreign Persons Without a Social Security Number. On Form 8946, you will verify information about your foreign status and identity. See Form 8946 for instructions on completing and submitting the form and the required documents.

    Note.

    Line 2 of Form 8946 must contain a non-U.S. physical address. This address cannot be a P.O. Box. If a P.O. Box is listed on line 2 of the Form 8946, your application will be rejected and returned to you.

    Renewing without a SSN.

    You do not need to resubmit Form 8945 or Form 8946. However, you are required to enter your date of birth on line 3 of Form W-12.

    Line 4.   Enter the email address we should use if we need to contact you about matters regarding this form.

       We will also send PTIN related emails with general information, reminders, and requirements. Any valid email address that you check regularly for PTIN communications is acceptable.

    Line 5.   You are required to fully disclose any information concerning prior felony convictions. Be advised that a felony conviction may not necessarily disqualify you from having a PTIN. However, crimes related to federal tax matters and also those involving dishonesty or a breach of trust will be considered grounds for denial or termination of a PTIN. Generally, a person who is currently incarcerated for any felony conviction will not be permitted to obtain or renew a PTIN.

      Use the space in line 5 to provide details of your prior felony conviction(s), and why you believe it should not affect your fitness to practice before the IRS. Providing false or misleading information on this form is a criminal offense that may result in prosecution and criminal penalties. In addition, providing false or misleading information is a separate ground to deny your application for a PTIN or terminate it after it has been assigned. All the facts and circumstances as related in your explanation will be considered. You will be contacted if additional information is needed.

    Line 6.   All preparers are required to be in full compliance with federal tax laws including filing all returns and paying all taxes, or making payment arrangements acceptable to the IRS. The filing of a tax return and the payment of the tax liability associated with that return are two separate and distinct requirements under the Internal Revenue Code, which must be satisfied within the periods specified for each taxable period in which you have a legal obligation to file.

      Use the space in line 6 to provide the details of any noncompliance, including the steps you have taken to resolve the issue, and why you believe it should not affect your fitness to practice before the IRS. Providing false or misleading information on this form is a criminal offense that may result in prosecution and criminal penalties. In addition, providing false or misleading information is a separate ground to deny your application for a PTIN or terminate it after it has been assigned. All the facts and circumstances as related in your explanation will be considered. You will be contacted if additional information is needed.

    Line 7.   Check the appropriate boxes to indicate your professional credentials. Check all that apply. Please include the licensing number, jurisdiction, and expiration date. If you do not have any professional credentials, check the “None” box.

    Attorney.

    An attorney is any person who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any state, territory, or possession of the United States, including a Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia.

    Certified public accountant (CPA).

    A CPA is any person who is duly qualified to practice as a CPA in any state, territory, or possession of the United States, including a Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia.

    Enrolled agent (EA).

    An EA is any individual enrolled as an agent who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS.

    Enrolled actuary.

    An enrolled actuary is any individual who is enrolled as an actuary by the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 1242 who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS. Also, the enrolled actuary must file with the IRS a written declaration stating that he or she is currently qualified as an enrolled actuary and is authorized to represent the party or parties on whose behalf he or she acts.

    Enrolled retirement plan agent (ERPA).

    An ERPA is any individual enrolled as a retirement plan agent who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS.

    Skip lines 8, 9, and 10 if you are an attorney, CPA, or EA.

    Definition of a supervised preparer.   A supervised preparer is a non-signing preparer who is employed by a law firm, CPA firm, or other recognized firm (a firm that is at least 80 percent owned by attorneys, CPAs, EAs, enrolled actuaries, or enrolled retirement plan agents). The returns they prepare are signed by a supervising attorney, CPA, EA, enrolled actuary, or enrolled retirement plan agent at the firm.

    Line 9.    If you are not an attorney, CPA, or EA you must answer the questions on this line. If you check “Yes” to all of the questions, you are a supervised preparer and must enter the PTIN of your supervisor. For a detailed explanation of a supervised preparer see Definition of a supervised preparer, above.

    Line 10.   Reserved for future use.

    Line 11.   If you are self-employed or an owner, partner, or officer of a tax preparation business, please enter your applicable identification numbers. Make sure to enter any alphabetic letters that are part of your CAF number. If you have multiple EINs or EFINs, enter the number that is used most frequently on returns you prepare.

    Line 12.   Enter the address for the main business at which you are employed.

    Line 13.   Entering the business phone number is optional.

    Line 14.   Entering the business name and website address is optional.

    Line 15.   If you have a social security number and are requesting a PTIN, but have never filed a federal income tax return, have not filed a federal income tax return in the past 4 years, or do not usually have a federal income tax filing requirement (such as certain individuals from Puerto Rico), you must complete and submit your application on a paper Form W-12. You must submit an original, certified, or notarized copy of your social security card along with one other document that contains a photo ID. The list of acceptable supporting documents appears below. All documents must be a current original, certified, or notarized copy, and must verify your name. If you submit copies of documents that display information on both sides, copies of both the front and back of the document must be attached to the Form W-12. Send the completed Form W-12 application, a copy of your social security card, and the other supporting documentation to the mailing address listed under How to File, earlier. Your application will be rejected if no photo ID is submitted with Form W-12.

    Document requirements.

    You must submit a social security card along with one of the documents below. 

    • Passport/Passport Card

    • U.S. Driver's License

    • U.S. State ID Card

    • U.S. Military ID Card

    • Foreign Military ID Card

    To avoid any loss of your original documents, it is suggested you do not submit the original documentation.

    Submitting copies of the document along with Form W-12.

    You can submit original documents, certified copies, or notarized copies. A certified document is one that the original issuing agency provides and certifies as an exact copy of the original document and contains an official seal from the Agency. All certifications must stay attached to the copies of the documents when they are sent to the IRS.

    If submitting Form 8945 or Form 8946 with the Form W-12 refer to those form instructions for required documentation.

    A notarized document is one that has been notarized by a U.S. notary public or a foreign notary legally authorized within his or her local jurisdiction to certify that each document is a true copy of the original. To do this, the notary must see the valid, unaltered, original documents and verify that the copies conform to the original. Preparers must send the copy that bears the mark (stamp, signature, etc.) of the notary. Photocopies or faxes of notarized documents are not acceptable.

    Line 16.   If you filed your most recent individual income tax return more than 4 years ago, see line 15, above, for information on how to submit Form W-12 and the identification documents that must accompany your submission.

    Line 17.   Payment of the appropriate fee must accompany this form or it will be rejected. The fee for applying for a PTIN is $64.25. The fee for renewing a PTIN is $63.00. If paying by check or money order, make it payable to “IRS Tax Pro PTIN Fee.” Do not paper clip, staple, or otherwise attach the payment to Form W-12.

    PTIN will be obtained after October 15th.

    If you are applying for (as opposed to renewing) a PTIN between October 16th and December 31st, you have an option as to when the PTIN will be valid. Check the appropriate box to state whether you want the PTIN to be valid for the current calendar year or the next calendar year. If you select the current year, your PTIN is valid until December 31st of the current year. If you select the next year, your PTIN will not be valid until January 1st of that year.


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