The first step towards becoming an Enrolled Agent (EA) is to obtain your preparer tax identification number, commonly referred to as a PTIN. You must have this in order to register to take the EA exam. This is the number Prometric uses to track you through the testing process.
Also, you must have this number in order to get paid for preparing tax returns. You may not sign or efile tax returns without a PTIN.
How to get it
The IRS has made the process super easy through their online process at https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/ptin-requirements-for-tax-return-preparers . Once there, simply provide your name, email address, username and password. The system uses this as a starting point. They send you a temporary password which you then use to complete the application.
If you need some guidance, the IRS provides a video on the PTIN page – http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/PTIN-Requirements-for-Tax-Return-Preparers
You’ll need to provide your personal information, information about your previous year’s tax return, details about your professional credentials and more.
How much does it cost
The application fee is currently $50 (Cost to renew is also $50). You can pay it online via credit card, debit card or eCheck. The process is pretty quick. Once the bank receives your payment you will receive your PTIN by email in around 15 minutes!
If you’re still working with paper, you can of course do it by mail using Form W-12 but that will take between 4 – 6 weeks to process.
Your PTIN is good for one calendar year at a time. Renewal open season begins each year in mid-October – and must be completed before you may sign or efile your first tax return the following year.
If you’re serious about passing the EA exam first time, this is the best course for you.Register Now
Image Credit: Check Your Tax Preparer’s PTIN Status | BIDaWIZ Blog.
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