Tax Pros Still Have Time to Renew Their PTINs for 2017by
Tax professionals who have yet to renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) for next year have until Dec. 31 before their 2016 PTINs expire.
“We ask that you renew your PTIN as soon as possible to avoid a last-minute rush,” Carol Campbell, director of the IRS Return Preparer Office, said in a written statement. “It’s easy to let this slip as the holiday season approaches.”
For the more than 725,000 tax return preparers who have a 2016 PTIN, the online renewal process only takes a few moments and costs $50. Online tools are available to help preparers who cannot remember their user IDs and passwords.
The application fee also is $50 for preparers who are registering for the first time, and the application process can be done online.
Preparers who do not want to renew or apply for their PTINs online can use the paper version of Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number Application and Renewal, but it will take the IRS four to six weeks to process.
Failure to have and use a valid PTIN can lead to penalties. All enrolled agents (EAs), regardless of whether they prepare returns, must have a PTIN to preserve their status.
Speaking of EAs, those whose Social Security numbers end with a 4, 5, or 6 should renew their status between Nov. 1, 2016, and Jan. 31, 2017, the IRS said.
To renew, EAs must:
- Have an active PTIN.
- Complete a minimum of 16 hours continuing education each year of their enrollment cycle for a total 72 hours. In addition, two hours of ethics or professional conduct must be completed during each enrollment year. For EAs who are renewing for the first time, they must complete two hours of continuing education for each month of their enrollment, including two hours of ethics or professional conduct each year.
- Pay the $30 nonrefundable renewal fee. This fee applies regardless of their enrollment status.
Enrolled agents who need to renew can submit their application and $30 renewal fee directly online through Pay.gov. While on the website, enter “8554” in the “Search Public Forms” box on the left-hand side of the page. Renewals can take up to 90 days to process.
IRS Annual Filing Season Program
The IRS has kicked off its voluntary Annual Filing Season Program, intended to encourage noncredentialed tax preparers to take continuing education courses to increase their knowledge and improve their readiness for the upcoming filing season. The program generally requires 18 hours of continuing education, including a course in basic tax-filing issues and updates, ethics, and other federal tax law courses.
Preparers who want to receive an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion for 2017 must do the following:
- Complete their continuing education requirements by Dec. 31.
- Have a valid 2017 PTIN.
- Consent to adhere to specific practice requirements in Treasury Department Circular No. 230.
The IRS has a video to demonstrate how to sign the Circular 230 consent and print the Record of Completion.