IRS: Preparer tax ID numbers must be renewed

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The Internal Revenue Service is contacting more than 19,000 Washington State tax return preparers to remind them they must renew their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). The IRS will require the use the PTIN on all federal returns prepared by paid tax return preparers starting January 1, 2011.

This requirement is part of the implementation of steps Commissioner Doug Shulman announced earlier this year regarding tax return preparers. The process will help ensure taxpayers receive competent, ethical service from qualified professionals by strengthening oversight of tax preparers."

This week, the IRS is sending notices to 19,617 Washington State Tax Professionals who currently have PTINs as a reminder to renew.

Recipients are urged to heed the notice and avoid any last minute rush by renewing their PTIN online now.

Tax professionals who received their PTIN prior to the new system launch on September 28, 2010, as well as those who do not currently have a PTIN must register using the IRS Tax Professional Sign-Up System at www.IRS.gov/taxpros.

Registration, which will generally take 15-20 minutes, involves four simple steps:

  • Create an account
  • Complete the PTIN application
  • Pay a $64.25 fee
  • Get a PTIN (Existing PTIN holders will generally be reassigned their same numbers.)


The nine-digit PTIN was created several years ago so tax preparers could avoid using their Social Security Number as identification on the tax returns that they prepare. The requirement to use the PTIN is one of the main provisions in a new oversight program to help regulate the tax preparation industry.

Everyone paid to prepare all or substantially all of any federal tax return or claim for refund must have a PTIN. The requirement applies to all tax return preparers, including those who are enrolled agents, Certified Public Accountants and attorneys.

David Tucker handles media relations for the IRS for the states of Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

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