The Online PTIN application tool from the IRS went live last week. It was initially scheduled for availability mid September, but apparently did not have all the bugs worked out and its availability was postponed until September 28th. The general consensus that we have found from our applicants is that they clearly needed even more time than this to get the system working smoothly. There are several common areas of confusion and difficulty that we are hearing from our offices and preparers. Temporary passwords are never reaching the applicants email account; Information from prior years’ tax return are not able to be verified, payment transactions produce no confirmation or receipt, and when checking on the status of an application the incorrect status is shown.
When you first log into the online PTIN application portal on the IRS website you are prompted to create an account. This account requires an email address, and once this address is entered the IRS is supposed to send out a temporary password to this address, but there have been considerable complaints that the temporary password never arrives. We have found that work emails with a company’s domain extension (email@example.com) do not seem to be coming through; also Hotmail accounts are also experiencing issues receiving email from the IRS servers as well. Yahoo email addresses have been receiving the temporary passwords as the IRS intended. We suggest that you use a yahoo email address if you are experiencing issues receiving your temporary password.
Once you receive your temporary password you will be prompted to enter the address from a prior year’s tax return and filing status. The address verification is very specific and we suggest that you have your prior year’s tax return handy for reference in this step. The biggest issue arising is the abbreviation of Street (St.), Lane (Ln.), Court (Ct.), etc. Currently the IRS application tool wants the address to match exactly as your tax return shows, so do not abbreviate if your return shows the full spelling of street, lane, or court.
If you are able to make it through the entire process you will be prompted for payment for the PTIN application processing to continue. The credit payment options available are Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. The save and pay later function does appear to be working properly, but once you do submit payment there is no confirmation of payment being received or confirmation receipt sent to your email. This could simply be related to the email correspondence issue addressed when trying to get your temporary password, but as of 9/29/2010, no confirmation emails were being delivered.
The final complaint with the online PTIN application system that we are hearing from applicants is relating to being able to check the status of your application. After you have paid, it does not show payments listed. Once you have battled through the address and filing status verification section and made the necessary corrections, the status of your application still shows “unable to verify tax information”. The determination is that the system is not yet fully functional and attempts to apply early in its release might lead to more headaches that necessary. Hold off a few weeks to let then work the bugs out!
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