Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Requirements for Tax Return Preparers​​

PTIN Open Season

Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) applications and renewals for 2018 are now being processed.  Renew or register your PTIN for 2018 by December 31st, 2018.

​​Applying for a PTIN.

Beginning in January 1, 2011, the IRS mandated that all paid preparers, i.e., anyone who prepares or assists in preparing federal tax returns for compensation, must have a valid 2016 Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) before preparing returns.  All Enrolled Agents (EAs) must also have a PTIN.  You can sign up for your PTIN online or by paper application.  The online system allows you to sign-up and renew your Preparer Tax identification Number (PTIN), keep your account current, view your continuing education credits, and receive communications from the IRS Return Preparer Office.  Your PTIN must be renewed each year after October 15th.       

Do you want to be included in the Public Directory of return preparers or desire limited representation rights for your clients? Go to:    Also, check out the Annual Filing Season Program which recognizes the efforts of non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism.

Don't have a PTIN and need to obtain one?

Most first time PTIN applicants can pbtain a PTIN online in about 15 minutes. Go to:   The fee is $0 (FREE).  

View the checklist to get started:​

​PTIN Application Checklist: What you need to get started?
Before you begin your PTIN application, be sure you have the following available:

  • Social Security Number
  • Personal information (name, mailing address, date of birth)
  • Business information (name, mailing address, telephone number)
  • Previous year’s individual tax return (name, address, filing status) 1
  • Explanations for felony convictions (if any) 2
  • Explanations for problems with your U.S. individual or business tax obligations (if any) 2
  • Credit or debit card for the $50.00 PTIN user fee
  • If applicable, any U.S.-based professional certification information (CPA, attorney, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, enrolled actuary, certified acceptance agent, or state license) including certification number, jurisdiction of issuance, and expiration date

Once you gather all of your information, just follow four easy steps to obtain your PTIN:

  • Create Your Account — First, you must create an account by providing your name, email address and security question information. The system will then email your temporary password, which you will change when you go back to enter your information in the PTIN application.

  • Apply for Your PTIN — You will complete the online application by providing personal information, information about your previous year’s tax return, professional credentials, and more as shown above.

  • Get Your PTIN — After the bank confirms your payment, your PTIN is provided online.

      Note: All PTIN correspondence is delivered through secure online messaging in your PTIN account. Use the most up-to-date email address when obtaining your PTIN to ensure that you receive our messages.

         1 Tax return information is required to authenticate your identity. If you filed your tax return in the past 8 weeks, please use a previous year’s individual tax return.

         2 Felony convictions and discrepancies with your federal tax obligations may affect your ability to obtain a PTIN
         Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 30-Oct-201

Already have a PTIN and need to renew it?

Renew your PTIN in 2 easy steps:
1. Access Your Account
If you already have an online PTIN account, login now. 

2. Renew Your PTIN
Complete the online renewal application. You must verify your personal information and answer a few new questions.  View a checklist at:  of what you need before you get started.

Prefer to apply or renew by paper?
It only takes about 15 minutes to apply for or renew your PTIN online.  But if you prefer to use the paper option, Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Application. Go to:​  For more information on completing Form W-12, view instructions at:

Students who wish to file using Form W-12 should allow 4-6 weeks processing time and send the form to:

IRS Tax Pro PTIN Processing Center 104 
Brookeridge Drive #5000
Waterloo, IA 50702

Contact Information
If you are interested in learning how to do taxes, interested in earning a full year's salary working 4 months, interested in leaving your current situation because you're being treated bad, or interested in a better opportunity to own your own home-based income tax preparation service, then contact us immediately @