A Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is generally required for anyone who is paid to prepare or help prepare a federal tax return, claim for refund, or certain other IRS tax forms. PTINs must be renewed every year. Time is running out for the roughly 800,000 active tax return preparers to renew their PTINs for the upcoming tax season.
Anyone who prepares or helps prepare – for compensation – a federal tax return or a claim for a refund must have a valid PTIN from the IRS. Tax pros must include the PTIN as their identifying number on any return or claim for refund filed with the IRS.
PTINs expire on December 31 of the calendar year they are issued. All 2023 PTINs expire on Dec. 31, 2023. See the FAQs: Do I Need A PTIN? for the list of returns, claims for refund, and other tax forms submitted to the IRS for which you do not need to obtain a PTIN.
The fee to renew or obtain a PTIN for 2024 is $19.75. The fee is set at $11 per application or renewal (plus an $8.75 fee payable to the third-party contractor). The PTIN fee is non-refundable. Failure to have and to use a valid PTIN may result in penalties.
Paid tax return preparers with a PTIN expiring on Dec. 31, 2023, should use the online renewal process, which takes about 15 minutes to complete. A paper option, Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Application, and Renewal, along with the instructions, are also available for PTIN applications and renewals. However, the paper form usually takes six weeks to process.
What tax return preparers need to know
All enrolled agents, attorneys, and certified public accountants must get PTINs if they are paid to prepare or aid in preparing all or most of a federal tax return or claim for a refund. Enrolled retirement plan agents may need a PTIN, depending on the types of forms they prepare for compensation.
Apply or renew online
The online application process on the IRS’s Tax Professional PTIN System takes around 15 minutes. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one.
The application will ask for personal and business information. If you’re renewing your PTIN, it will review the answers you provided last year. You should make certain the information is correct.
If you apply online, you’ll generally get your PTIN immediately after you complete the application.
Keep in mind: PTINs are issued for a specific calendar year. A current-year PTIN refers to a PTIN for the current calendar year, while next year refers to a PTIN for the upcoming calendar year.
Apply by mail
Although tax return preparers have the option to renew their PTINs by mail, note that mailed applications take four to six weeks to process, so at this late date, the online renewal option is the one to follow. However, if you do choose to renew by mail, here are the steps you need to follow.
All PTIN correspondence is delivered through secure online messaging in your PTIN account. Use your most up-to-date email address when obtaining your PTIN to be sure you get all messages.
Whether applying for a PTIN for the first time or renewing your PTIN, you will need to pay the applicable application fee. The fee is a processing fee and is nonrefundable.
Keep in mind: Preparers need a current PTIN to accept payment from clients to prepare their federal tax returns, claims for refund, and certain other tax forms. Failure to have a current PTIN could result in action from the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, such as penalties, injunctions, and disciplinary action under Internal Revenue Code section 6695.
Additional rules to follow under certain circumstances
Under certain circumstances, there may be additional information or rules to follow when filing for a PTIN.
Applicants who are a foreign person without a Social Security Number (SSN).
Form 8946, the PTIN Supplemental Application for Foreign Persons Without a Social Security Number, must be completed and submitted as part of the PTIN application process.
This form must be submitted with original documents to verify the information on Form 8946. Certified or notarized copies can be sent if preferred.
Applicant who is a U.S. Citizen with no SSN due to being a conscientious religious objector.
Form 8945, PTIN Supplemental Application For U.S. Citizens Without a Social Security Number Due To Conscientious Religious Objection, needs to be submitted along with the original documents to verify the information on Form 8945. Certified or notarized copies can be sent if preferred.
Applicants renewing without an SSN.
There’s no need to submit Forms 9845 or 8946. However, date of birth must be entered on line 3 of Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Application, and Renewal.
Applicants who have a felony conviction.
PTIN applications ask about any past felony convictions. While a past conviction may not necessarily disqualify someone from getting a PTIN, all details of all convictions must be provided so that the IRS will know all of the facts and circumstances. The IRS will reach out if it needs any additional information.
Keep in mind: Providing false or misleading information could lead to prosecution and criminal penalties, and anyone who is currently incarcerated for any felony conviction generally won’t be permitted to obtain or renew a PTIN.