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What steps are involved in getting a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number)?

Do I have to take a test, take the IRS' Annual Filing Season Program, etc.?

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Gurpreet’s Answer, CareerVillage.org Team

From my research, it looks like there are no real requirements to obtain a PTIN. All you need to do is:
- Be 18 years or older
- Sign up with the IRS (takes about 15 min)
- Pay roughly $40

There is no test or need to be a part of the Annual Filing Season Program. For more info, look at these two IRS websites:
https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/ptin-requirements-for-tax-return-preparers
https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/understanding-tax-return-preparer-credentials-and-qualifications
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! Genevieve
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Deborah’s Answer

hi! If you are going to be preparing and filing client's tax returns then I would highly suggest obtaining a professional qualification. Many Tax preparers obtain an Enrolled Agent's qualification which gives them a license to represent clients in front of the IRS. Here is the link to the details.
https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/enrolled-agents/enrolled-agent-information

you will need to sit 3 exams and then maintain CPE going forward. However any employer will require you to have this if you are going to be filing tax returns on behalf of their clients.
Good luck - tax can be a rewarding career!
Thank you comment icon Thanks Deborah!! Genevieve
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Steven’s Answer

You can get the precise instructions at: https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/ptin-requirements-for-tax-return-preparers and can do it all on-line.
You'd be filling out the questions on a W-12 form. If you're starting your own business use your SSN as your Employer Identification Number unless you are going to have employees you will need an EIN (which may be a good idea anyway). If you will file client forms online you will need an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN). You may have to upload a jpeg of your ID (Driver's License, Passport, etc.). I'm not sure about this since when I got my PTIN it was 17 years ago. The PTIN fee is $35.95. If you're certified with the California Tax Education Council (CTEC, which is at CTEC,org) you do not need to take another test. I'm retired so read the instructions carefully! Things may have changed.
Thank you comment icon Thank you Steven! Genevieve
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josh’s Answer

Super simple. Just go here https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/ptin-requirements-for-tax-return-preparers
Thank you comment icon Thank you!! Genevieve
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Jess’s Answer

To add, obtaining your PTIN is a one-time task but it needs to be renewed each year. All PTINs expire on December 31 of each year and are required to be renewed to be current and active. PTIN renewal open season begins mid-October each year for the following year. You can renew online by logging into your PTIN account or by submitting a paper Form W-12 with the “Renewal” box checked.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for taking the time to help!! Genevieve
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Chih’s Answer

No, you don't need to take a test to obtain a PTIN.

-Go to the IRS PTIN registration website: Visit the IRS website dedicated to PTINs (www.irs.gov/ptin) and click on the "Get or Renew Your PTIN" link.
-Create an online account and fill out the application.
-Pay the required PTIN fee.
-Review and submit your application.
-Wait for processing, and you'll receive your PTIN when approved.
Thank you comment icon Chih, thank you for taking the time to answer my question! :) Genevieve
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Swacella’s Answer

In order to get your PTIN first you have to be

1. 18
2. Pass a thorough background check
3. Be finger printed
4. Go to the IRS website and submit application for an PTIN
5. Also, have at least some experience doing taxes . If you trying to start your own tax business, apply for the EIN on the IRS and submit an application for that too .
6. Pay the $39 fee for the PTIN
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
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