Key Terms

Renewing or Applying for a PTIN

Tax Preparers Must Renew Their PTINs for 2014

Professional tax return preparers must renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) if they plan to prepare returns in 2014. Current PTINs expire Dec. 31, 2013.

The IRS will be sending expiration letters at the end of January to people who have not renewed their PTINs for 2014.  

The letters will be placed in the PTIN holder's online secure mailbox within their PTIN account. They will receive an email telling them their PTIN has expired and to check their mailbox for more info. 
Even after a person's PTIN has expired, they can still renew online (or by paper). The IRS will be processing renewals throughout the year.  

Anyone who prepares or helps prepare all or substantially all of a federal tax return, claim for refund or other federal forms for compensation must have a valid PTIN. All enrolled agents also must have a PTIN. Tax professionals can obtain or renew their PTINs at

Renewing your PIN takes about 15 minutes. The renewal fee is $63. Tools are available to assist any preparers who have forgotten their user name, password, or email address.

New tax return preparers who are obtaining a first-time PTIN must create an online PTIN account as a first step and then follow directions to obtain a PTIN. The fee is $64.25.

The annual PTIN requirement is part of the IRS’s ongoing effort to enhance tax administration and improve services to taxpayers.

There are approximately 700,000 tax preparers with 2013 PTINs. More than 400,000 have already renewed their PTIN, plus more than 25,000 have obtained a first-time PTIN for 2014.

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PTIN Application and Renewal

All paid tax return preparers (including attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents)  are required to obtain a PTIN. If you already have a PTIN, you must renew it annually. As long as the IRS can validate the ownership of the existing PTIN, the same number will be reassigned once the appropriate information is provided and the user fee is paid. The PTIN renewal fee for 2014 is $63. The initial application fee for a PTIN remains at $64.50.

In the future, some preparers may need to pass a competency test and background check, and take continuing education courses. Visit the New PTIN Requirements for Tax Return Preparers page on for more information.

It only takes about 15 minutes to sign up online and receive your PTIN. To learn more about the online PTIN registration process you can view the IRS Webinar, Demonstration of IRS Tax Professional PTIN Sign-Up System.

If you opt to use the paper application, Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Application, it will take 4-6 weeks to process.

Note: Tax preparers must create a new PTIN account even if they already use e-Services. A PTIN account is separate from an e-Services account.

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Online PTIN Accounts

The IRS Return Preparer Office has made improvements to your online PTIN Account to expand its function.

  • "Manage My Account" is fully functional allowing you to self-correct almost any field at any time (including professional credentials).  Previously, users could only make most changes during renewal.  A phone call was required to make changes during the rest of the year.  However, for security reasons, name changes will still require written documentation. 
  • You can now view completed continuing education programs reported by IRS-approved providers beginning with 2013 courses. Providers report completed CE programs to the IRS based on your PTIN number every quarter. Enrolled agents must have a minimum of 16 CE hours annually and a total of 72 hours over 3 years. Others can also view voluntary programs completed. If something is missing, contact your provider directly as we only display what providers send to us.  
  • Planning to take a year off for any reason? A new function allows you to inactivate your PTIN voluntarily and then reactivate the same number when you return to work. This is only for those of you who plan to take a full year off. If you are paid to prepare tax returns during any part of a year, you must have a valid PTIN. 
  • Messaging ability is being enhanced.  PTIN holders will receive more secure email messages in the future coming directly from 

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Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Application


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