As part of their oversight exercise, the IRS is taking steps to begin fingerprinting all tax preparers. The fingerprints are to be run through the FBI database. In addition, it will be obligatory for tax preparers to renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN) every year in accordance with Notice 2011-80 and undergo a 15-hour continuing education requirement that is set to take effect next year.
The annual renewal of PTIN must be carried out after October 15 and before January 1 each year with a payment of $64.25. The preparer can use the online PTIN application or paper Form W-12 to do so.
Up to now, the IRS has been issuing provisional PTIN for preparers who are not attorneys, accountants or enrolled agents so that they can prepare tax returns before taking competency tests and undergoing suitability requirements in view of the fact that the testing and continuing education programs have not been implemented yet. The IRS has said it intends to continue issuing provisional PTIN until at least April 18, 2012. But when the IRS stops doing so, all tax preparers would be required to pass competency tests and other suitability requirements before they will be granted a PTIN.
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