IR-2012-79, Oct. 22, 2012 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded the nation’s 730,000 federal tax return preparers that they must renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) for 2013. Also, preparers who have a competency test requirement should take the time now to schedule an appointment for the exam. Anyone who is a paid federal tax return preparer must register with the IRS and have a PTIN, as must all Enrolled Agents. Additionally, some return preparers have new continuing education and competency test requirements. “We ask that you renew your PTIN as soon as possible to avoid a last-minute rush. It’s easy to let this slip as the holiday season approaches,” said Carol A. Campbell, Director, IRS Return Preparer Office. “And, if you have a testing requirement and haven’t yet scheduled an appointment, please do so at the same time.” The online PTIN renewal process takes about 15 minutes. Renewed PTINs will be valid for calendar year 2013. The IRS also has significantly upgraded the PTIN system to make it easier to use and more intuitive. Preparers who have forgotten their log-in information, password or email address can use online tools to resolve these issues. Get started at /ptin. New continuing education and testing requirements also apply to approximately 340,000 preparers who previously had no such requirements. These preparers must certify when renewing their PTIN for 2013 that they have completed the 15-hour requirement for continuing education in 2012. Learn more about the 2012 continuing education requirement at /taxpros/ce. Additionally, preparers with a testing requirement should schedule their tests, whether it is the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) test or the more extensive Special Enrollment Exam (SEE) for those interested in becoming Enrolled Agents. Compare the tests and credentials at /taxpros/tests. The RTRP test can be scheduled online through the PTIN system by selecting “next steps and additional requirements” from the PTIN account Main Menu. The SEE can be scheduled online at www.prometric.com/see. Preparers who wait until next year to schedule a test may find it difficult to arrange the test at a convenient date, time and location. Enrolled Agents, Certified Public Accountants and attorneys are exempt from the new continuing education requirements because they already pass more extensive tests and take continuing education courses to satisfy their professional credentials. For more information about requirements for federal tax professionals, go to /for-Tax-Pros.