Registering with New York State
There's been quite a bit of talk about who must and must not register with NYS as an out of state preparer.
I still don't know the exact answer and how it applies to Enrolled Agent.
But life is too short to deal with penalties when you can do something simple, like fill out a form. Right?
So, since I prepare two NY tax returns, several weeks ago, I tried to register online.
You first have to register for a PERSONAL taxpayer account - with your SSN.
I got through the first screen.
On the second screen, you enter your address and set up your passwords.
No matter what I tried to do, I could not get past that screen.
The error message was always something to the effect that this could not be processed, come back later.
I thought it was because I was doing this late in the evening, in California. Perhaps they were doing system maintenance. So I tried at different times of day. No luck.
This morning, I had my staff do this. (Now I am not just wasting MY time, I am paying for time.) Still the same message.
There was a phone number at the bottom of a page that suggests you call for help. I did. The lady was nice, but couldn't help. So she referred the call to their tech support. A while later, an email arrived. It contained a woman's name and phone number. So I called her. Believe it or not, she called me back in a couple of hours - after 5:00 pm in NY!
For those of you trying to register, do this:
Start here, as if you were a taxpayer: http://nystax.gov/online/ 
Click on Create Account and fill in the form.
Enter your PERSONAL data, with your own SSN.
And since you're out of state, say NO when it asks if you filed a NY tax return. It's asking about your personal tax return, not your clients'.
Do NOT enter a PO Box.
(Before, starting from the tax preparer site, I tried with a street address and the PO box and still got the same error message. Apparently, the problem was the PO Box address - but the system is incapable of telling you that.)
Anyway, the system should work if you enter as a taxpayer. At least you'll get to create the initial account.
Once you finally log in to their Online Tax Center, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page.
Ta Daaaa! You will find Tax Preparer Registration.