Time to renew your PTIN? We've got the info you need to get your PTIN renewed fast.
1 min read
If you are one of more than 759,000 federal tax return preparers in the US, your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) will expire December 31. It must be renewed before you prepare client tax returns next year. This may sound like just another thing to add to your never-ending to-do list, but the good news is, if you renew it now, it shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes. Why not get it out of the way before the holidays?
We've put together this brief guide to PTINs to answer a few commonly asked questions such as who needs a PTIN, how a PTIN differs from other, similar IRS-issued identification numbers, and how to apply for a PTIN for the first time. If you are only interested in learning how to renew your PTIN in 15 minutes, you can scroll down to the last section of this post.
A PTIN is an 8-digit identification number the IRS issues all paid tax preparers. It must be used when preparing and filing clients' tax returns, but it is required on many other IRS forms as well.
Keep in mind, a PTIN is different from a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number. A CAF number is an identification number that is also specific to tax preparers but is only needed by preparers who wish to access their client's confidential information or represent their client before the IRS.
A PTIN is also different from an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN). An EFIN is issued to individual tax preparers or firms that are authorized IRS e-file providers. It should be included with any electronic return data sent to the IRS. Most tax preparers need both a PTIN and EFIN.
Who needs a PTIN?
Not all tax and accounting professionals need a PTIN. You only need a PTIN if you are at least 18 years old and fall into one or more of these categories:
PTINs cannot be shared by groups or offices. All individuals have to have their own. If you do not have a valid PTIN and need one, you will be penalized by the IRS. Under IRC Sec. 6695(c), the penalty for not providing a valid PTIN on the tax returns you prepare is $50 for each failure to comply. You can accrue a maximum of $25,500 in a calendar year for this penalty. Aside from penalties, injunction may also be imposed, or the IRS' Office of Professional Responsibility make take disciplinary action. Additionally, you will not be permitted to file tax returns for your clients.
If you prepare tax returns for no compensation, for example if you volunteer at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site, you do not need a PTIN.
If you are applying for a PTIN for the first time, you can navigate to the IRS PTIN System here. Be sure to have the following information ready for quick application:
Once you have gathered your information, you simply create an account and apply. You can log into your account to check the status of your PTIN, but in general, your PTIN will likely be issued to you immediately after you apply. Felony convictions and issues with your tax obligations may prevent you from being able to obtain one.
Also, a good thing to note is that if you file your taxes eight weeks or less prior to the time you apply for a PTIN, you will need to use an earlier year's individual tax return.
After you create a PTIN account, you will receive a Letter 4743 from the IRS to ensure it was you who created the account. If it was you, no action is necessary on your end. If it was not you, contact the PTIN Helpline.
If you already have a PTIN account and just need to renew your number, you will need to provide similar information to a first-time applicant, with a few exceptions. You will need the following information ready for quick PTIN renewal:
If you prefer, you can mail in your Form W-12 to the IRS rather than use an online account, but your renewal will take four to six weeks to process. Along with your W-12 form, you must submit an approved version of your Social Security Card along with one other government-issued document that contains a current photo ID. Refer to Form W-12 instructions for complete information regarding acceptable supporting documentation and application requirements. If you do choose to mail in the form, send it to this address:
IRS Tax Pro PTIN Processing Center
PO Box 380638
San Antonio, TX 78268
Looking for more information about common, IRS-issued identification numbers? Check out IRS Issued Identification Numbers Explained: TIN, ITIN, PTIN, CAF Number.
Explore more of our recent Articles, User Stories, and Ebooks.
4 min read
4 min read
Canopy takes the headaches out of client management by offering a way to keep client info organized.
I love how easy it is to setup a new client in this software. Once set up, it's one click to get IRS transcripts downloaded for my review. This saves me at least an hour each week in comparison to the software I used to use.
This makes workflow for tax resolution manageable. This business is a bunch of hurry up and wait. This system helps to refresh my memory while transitioning to different clients.
The ability to securely share documents with clients as well as complete POAs from client contact data already in Canopy. The ability to route workflow between team members with color coded statuses allows us to work efficiently.
Cool features, outstanding customer service, constantly updating to make it better. I love that I can upload files easily to a secure client portal and we don't have to email files anymore. Absolutely can't imagine not having this software.
It's safe and secure. Clients are able to upload documents and the documents are saved their portal which as a result, keeps us better organized. The task feature keeps us organized and we know exactly the status of each client.
Submit this form, and we will be in touch soon to give you a custom demo.
Set a time for one of our product specialists to give you a guided tour practice.