Tax professionals can once again renew or apply for a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) after the IRS reopened the PTIN system on June 21.
The agency had temporarily shut down the PTIN system on June 2 following a US District Court decision that now prohibits the IRS from charging tax preparers a PTIN user fee.
Up until the June 1 ruling in Steele v. United States, the IRS charged a $50 annual fee to renew or apply for a PTIN. While the court said the IRS may continue to require the use of PTINs, “it may not charge fees for issuing PTINs and the regulations requiring payment of fees for PTINs are unlawful.”
In addition, the court instructed the IRS to provide “a full refund of all PTIN fees paid,” which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.
In an update on its webpage for tax professionals, the IRS said it is working with the US Department of Justice and is “still considering how to proceed.” It is not yet known whether the IRS will appeal the court’s decision.
In the meantime, the IRS said tax return preparers are still required to have a PTIN.
“Anyone who prepares, or assists in preparing, all or substantially all of a federal tax return for compensation is required to have a PTIN,” the IRS said. “All enrolled agents must also have a valid PTIN.”
The IRS said “we can make no determinations” whether a tax professional will have to pay later for a PTIN he or she receives now at no cost.
And don’t call the IRS about filing a refund claim for previously paid PTIN fees. The agency said any questions regarding claims or refunds should be directed to the PTIN Fees Class Action Administrator at www.ptinclassaction.com.