How to Get a Tax Preparer ID Number

You need to register with the IRS if you want to enter the tax preparation field. IRS will issue you an identification number known as the tax preparer ID number or PTIN after ensuring that you meet the requirements. Obtaining a PTIN was declared mandatory for those receiving a compensation for preparing a return in 2011. According to most recent statistics, the number of tax preparers all across the US is estimated to be somewhere around 1.2 million. If you are interested in rendering services as a tax preparer, here is how you can obtain you tax prepare ID number.


  • 1

    Before you can apply for a tax preparer ID number (PTIN), you will need to gather some basic information about yourself such as your Social Security number, date of birth, telephone number and home address. Apart from these personal credentials, you will be required to a proof of your personal income tax returns along with professional certification information if applicable. Bear in mind that if you are a convicted felon or if you owe back income taxes, you will be required to submit details of such circumstances on the application form so be ready to answer some questions.

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    Once you have gathered all the required information, there are two ways in which you can apply for a tax preparer ID number. You can either apply online or by filling in an application form and sending it to the PTIN Processing Centre. If you go for the online option, you will get your tax preparer ID number in no more than 15 minutes. All you need to do is to fill out the online PTIN application form which can be found on the official IRS website.

  • 3

    Alternatively, fill out the IRS Form W-12 "IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Application" manually and send it via post to the PTIN Processing Centre. If you use the manual method, you will have to wait for about four to six weeks to allow time for processing.

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    You will be required to pay a nominal fee before using your credit or debit card if you are applying online or using a check or money order if you are applying manually. Refer to the official IRS website to see how much fee you are required to pay and take care of it in order to get your tax preparer ID number.

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