I just received, via email attachment, a 2-page “Welcome Letter” from the IRS that stated –
“We’ve accepted your application for a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).”
The letter indicated that my “assigned PTIN” was the same as the one that I have been using for the past few years.
The letter also identifies the “Next Steps” -
“1) Pass a competency test
Many return preparers will need to take a competency test given by the IRS to retain their PTINs. This test will be available soon after June 1, 2011. We will provide you with more instructions at that time. (In certain limited situations, a tax return preparer may not be required to take a test. We will provide specific guidance before testing begins.)
You will have until December 31, 2013, to complete and pass the test. After you pass the test, you will be an IRS Registered Tax Return Preparer.
If you do not pass the test by December 31, 2013, your PTIN will no longer be valid. This will affect your status as a tax practitioner as well as your ability to prepare returns.
2) Complete annual continuing education
We will also be implementing a continuing education requirement. We will notify you when the requirement begins and to whom it will apply. At that time, we'll also provide additional guidance, including how to find approved education sponsors.
3) Keep your PTIN account current
You'll need to renew your PTIN within one year of the date of this letter. Please be sure to also update your account any time your information changes. You can make these updates online at www.IRS.gov/taxpros using your User ID and password. You can also visit your account online to check your PTIN renewal date, or find other relevant information.”
It also stated –
“You indicated on your application that you're currently in compliance with your federal tax obligations. To ensure that you maintain compliance in the future, the IRS will conduct periodic tax compliance checks.
The IRS may also conduct a background check, and you may need to provide fingerprints. Having a felony conviction on your record could affect your status as a tax practitioner as well as your ability to prepare tax returns. For more information, see Treasury Department Circular 230 § 10.51.”
I have some objections to providing my fingerprints (not that I am trying to hide any felony convictions) – and certainly hope it does not come to that.
I am pleased, and relieved, that my PTIN application process has been completed. I already take more than 15 hours of CPE per year - so there is nothing extra I have to do there. The next step is having to take a test to prove that I know what I have been doing successfully and without incident for the past 39 years – but I have three years to worry about that. Not that I will wait till the last minute to take the test – I will probably take it in the summer of 2012.