2018 PTIN renewal period underway for tax professionals

Written on Nov 02, 2017

Halloween season is officially over, and the year-end holiday season hasn’t yet begun, but many CPAs still have something important to observe: PTIN renewal season.

All current Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) will expire Dec. 31, so federal tax return preparers must renew before then.

Anyone who prepares or helps prepare any federal tax return, or claim for refund for compensation must have a valid PTIN from the IRS. The PTIN must be used as the identifying number on returns prepared. Failure to have and use a valid PTIN may result in penalties.

On Oct. 23, the IRS sent letters to tax return preparers who do not have a valid PTIN, but prepared returns in 2017.  There are four different letters depending on the situation.

  • Letter 4966 – Expired PTIN (expired 1 or 2 years)
  • Letter 5538 – Permanently Expired PTIN (expired 3+ years)
  • Letter 4731 – Legacy PTIN Used
  • Letter 4732 – SSN Used

For those who have a 2017 PTIN, the renewal process takes a few moments online. Those who cannot remember their user ID and password can find online tools to help. Preparers can get started at www.irs.gov/ptin. If registering for the first time, the PTIN application also may be completed online. There is no fee for obtaining or renewing a PTIN.  

Paper Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number Application and Renewal, is available for paper applications and renewals, and takes four to six weeks to process.

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