What is a PTIN and How Do I Get One?

What is a PTIN and How Do I Get One?

What is a PTIN?

In 1999, the Internal Revenue Service began requiring paid tax return preparers obtain a paid tax identification number (PTIN). Prior to this, tax professionals had to sign and include their Social Security Number with any tax forms they prepared for compensation. As you can imagine, there were concerns surrounding the use of SSNs in this manner, and implementation of the PTIN system aimed, in part, to protect the private information of tax pros.

Getting Started

Online PTIN applications usually only take fifteen minutes; if you prefer paper applications, fill out a Form W-12 and be prepared to wait 4-6 weeks for the request to be processed.

First things first, tax professionals who do not have a PTIN should click here to create an account. Remember, you will need to supply the usual suspects of account creation – name, email, secret question.

Once you’ve created an account, you can begin the process of applying for a PTIN. This will require information like your name, mailing address, birthdate, Social Security Number, and a credit or debit card to process the $50.00 fee.

As you may have guessed, the last step is paying the fee and actually getting your PTIN. After your payment is confirmed, the IRS provides your PTIN online.

PTIN Renewal

For those renewing a PTIN, the process is fairly straightforward and much like when you first applied; the IRS outlines three steps:

  1. Log in to your online PTIN account.
  2. Fill out the PTIN renewal application, using this checklist as a guide.

No Charge for PTINs

Following the District Court of D.C.’s ruling, the IRS cannot charge money for issuing and renewing PTINs. This means that you will not have to pay a fee when signing up for or renewing your PTIN this year. If there are any further developments related to PTIN fees, we will provide an update as soon as the information is available.