The IRS site is up and operating. Well sorta. The IRS announced the site is open for business this afternoon, but there seems to be a “land rush” and I haven’t been able to access it yet.
Paid tax preparers have until Dec. 31 to secure a new PTIN or “refresh” the one already assigned to them. Either way the process requires a payment of $64.25, an online application or a completed Form W-12 mailed to a Waterloo, Iowa address.
Preparers without the PTIN on Dec. 31 will be barred by the IRS from completed tax returns for payment. Volunteer tax preparers (VITA and Tax-Aide) will not be affected by this requirement, as they are already certified by an IRS exam each year.
This PTIN requirement is the first leg of the IRS registered preparer process. Beginning in 2011, paid preparers, who are not enrolled (Enrolled Agents, CPAs or tax attorneys) will be compelled to complete fifteen hours of continuing education each year, and pass an IRS competency exam no later than Dec. 31, 2013.
Enrolled Agents, CPAs and tax attorneys are presently controlled by the U. S. Treasury Department under Circular 230. They are considered to be enrolled preparers and are presently subject to more stringent requirements than the newly established category of registered tax preparers.
Enrolled preparers are authorized by the IRS to represent any taxpayer at every level of the IRS – audit, collection and appeals. Unenrolled preparers may only represent a taxpayer for whom they were the return preparer.
The registration site, if you can get to it, has lots of info available and will answer most any question you have about the process. Good luck.