IRS Urges Tax Professionals To Renew PTINs Now For 2020

The Internal Revenue Service is urging tax return preparers to start the upcoming 2020 filing season smoothly by renewing their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers now. All current PTINs will expire Dec. 31, 2019. Last year, more than 813,000 PTINs were issued and the agency is hoping to avoid a last minute rush (and potential problems) by encouraging practitioners to renew early.

Anyone who prepares or helps prepare a federal tax return for compensation must have a valid PTIN from the IRS before preparing returns, and they need to include the PTIN as the identifying number on any return filed with the IRS.

Tax preparers with a 2019 PTIN should use the online renewal process, which takes about 15 minutes to complete. Form W-12, along with the instructions, provides a paper option for PTIN applications and renewals. However, it can take four to six weeks to process. Failure to have and use a valid PTIN may result in penalties.

To renew a PTIN online:
• Start at
• Select the “Renew or Register” button.
• Enter the user ID and password to login to the online PTIN account.
• Follow the prompts to verify information and answer a few questions.

Once completed, users will receive confirmation of their PTIN renewal. There is no fee for renewing or obtaining a PTIN for 2020.
The online system not only allows PTIN renewal, but can also be used by tax preparers to view continuing education credits, see a summary of the number of returns their PTIN has appeared on in the current year, and receive communications through a secure mailbox from the IRS Return Preparer Office.
First time PTIN applicants can also apply for a PTIN online.

To apply for a PTIN online:
• Start at
• Select the “Renew or Register” button and select “Create Account” in the New User box.
• First time users are issued a temporary password and will be prompted to change their password upon logging in.
• Select “Sign Up with SSN” once logged in.
• Follow the prompts to obtain the PTIN online.