IRS PTIN-Everything You Need to Know

What does PTIN stand for?

PTIN stands for Preparer Tax Identification Number.

What is the cost of a PTIN?

The IRS PTIN cost is $64.25 for the first year and $63 each afterword. (Sidebar: There are CPAs that have filed a class action lawsuit against the IRS PTIN fees. If you remember, it used to be $14.25 until the IRS decided to expand it’s preparer requirements and regulations. That’s when it drastically jumped up an extra $50. These CPAs are suing for PTIN fees that were unconstitutionally collected but not ruled on during the last round of court battles. The PTIN itself was ruled to be honky dory, but the actual fees associated with obtaining said PTIN were not previously discussed. The class action suit asks for 150 million.)

What does the PTIN do?

It allows you, the preparer, to keep your social security number off the tax return that you’ve prepared. Back in the day, preparers used his or her ssn to identify them as the preparer. Now that identity theft is outrageously rampant, the former method of tax preparer identification just doesn’t make reasonable sense when it actually endangers the identity of the preparer.

How long does a PTIN last?

Your PTIN is valid for the entire tax year for which it was issued. However, PTIN renewal doesn’t come until late October so you could end up paying twice if you aren’t careful. Your actual PTIN will remain the same indefinitely.

Can I get an IRS issued PTIN if I do not have a social security number?

Yes, you can. There will always be a method for obtaining a PTIN without a ssn because there are preparers outside of the country who prepare returns for other non-resident aliens who may have a tax filing requirement with the IRS due to investments, etc.

Does my PTIN mean I’m certified?

Absolutely not. That means you have paid for a PTIN. The IRS encourages much caution when using the word “certified” as the IRS endorses no preparer or preparation firm. As far as literal certification goes, the IRS was ruled not to have the authority to regulate or require specific certification of preparers who are not enrolled agents, CPAs, or attorneys.

PTINdirectory.org said I’m certified so…

That website is a scam exploiting the freedom of information act. You are not certified. The IRS has said even if you get the voluntary AFTR certificate, you are not “certified” rather you have obtained a certificate of course completion. Period. If you want to be certified or licensed, get your EA.


Posted: September 10, 2014

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