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Online application for tax preparers to go live in Sept.

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that a new online application system for compensated tax return preparers is expected to go live in mid-September. The IRS has proposed to require all individuals who receive compensation for preparing all or substantially all of a federal tax return or claim for refund after Dec. 31, 2010, to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

Under the proposed regulations, compensated tax return preparers will need to obtain, or reapply for, a PTIN and pay a user fee using this new comprehensive system, which is part of a series of steps planned to increase oversight of federal tax return preparation. Tax return preparers will be creating PTIN accounts with the IRS when they use the new system.

Compensated tax return preparers would pay a $64.25 user fee the first year for a PTIN based on two underlying costs. The IRS proposes to collect $50 per user to pay for outreach, technology, and compliance efforts associated with the new program. And the third-party vendor will receive $14.25 per user to operate the online system and provide customer support.

Under the proposed regulations, compensated tax return preparers will be required to renew their PTINs annually and pay the associated user fee. The amount of the fee may change in future years as the actual program costs are periodically reevaluated.

Under the proposed regulations, the requirement to sign up on the new system will apply to all compensated tax return preparers of federal tax returns regardless of whether they currently possess a PTIN. Tax return preparers who already have a PTIN generally will be reassigned the same number.  Any individual who plans to prepare all or substantially all of a tax return for compensation must obtain a PTIN even if the individual is not subject to the testing and continuing education requirements that will be required under Circular 230, according to the IRS’ proposed regulation.  Access to the online application system will be through the Tax Professionals page of IRS.gov.

The IRS previously announced its portion of the total annual fee in proposed regulations (REG-139343-08) and interested parties have until Aug. 23, 2010, to submit comments on the regulations.  A hearing on the proposed regulations is scheduled for Aug. 24, 2010.  The launch of the new online application system and proposed user fees are dependent on the publication of final regulations on user fees and final regulations of the requirement to obtain a PTIN.


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