IRS: Tax preparers who want to prepare 2011 returns must renew PTINs

BY SALLY P. SCHREIBER

The IRS is sending information letters to tax return preparers who have not yet renewed their preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs) for the 2012 filing season. (The IRS system was, at this writing, not able to issue new PTINs.) The IRS started sending the letters last week and will continue through Jan. 30. The IRS letter reminds preparers that, if they have not renewed their PTINs by Feb. 21, 2012, the IRS will remove the preparers’ names from its list of individuals with valid PTINs for 2012, and the preparers will then have to renew their registration.  

The IRS says it will continue to process returns prepared by practitioners who fail to renew their PTINs, but that such practitioners can expect to be contacted by the IRS. Any individual who for compensation prepares tax returns or refund claims filed after Dec. 31, 2010, must obtain and use a valid PTIN or be subject to penalties under Sec. 6695(c).

Preparers who do not plan to prepare tax returns in 2012, or who have already renewed their PTINs either online or by paper, can disregard the IRS notice. Others should renew online at www.irs.gov/ptin (paper applications take 4–6 weeks to process).

The IRS is aware that many people have been having problems renewing online and suggests that preparers access the “Online Troubleshooting Tips” in the frequently asked questions section of the PTIN website (the troubleshooting tips are also available as a direct link on the PTIN page) or call the IRS Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST. The numbers are (toll free) 877-613-PTIN (7846), TTY (text telephone) 877-613-3686, or international toll number +1 915-342-5655.

Sally P. Schreiber ( sschreiber@aicpa.org ) is a JofA senior editor.

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