Tax return Preparer with a valid PTIN is going to be in demand in next few months as the tax season is arriving, and the obligation to file tax returns is on all of us. Since many tax deductions, credits, and computations of taxes require filling up various IRS forms, it becomes imperative to consult and take services from a tax return preparer.Therefore , even if there are free file program of IRS, you may still need people for proper tax return filing. So, how can you search tax return preparer near you?
The good news is that IRS has made this task easy as it maintains a constantly updated directory of all tax return preparers with allotted PTINs ( Like Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN) ).
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What is a tax return preparer identification number or PTIN?
A PTIN or Preparer Tax Identification Number is an 8-digit identification number for tax preparers who assist in preparing tax returns by charging fees.IRS rule makes it obligatory for a return preparer to quote in the tax return he/she prepares for the client. Apart from the usual tax return, it is mandatory for other important IRS forms.
Who must get a tax return preparer identification number or PTIN?
Anyone who prepares or assists in preparing federal tax returns for a fee must have a valid PTIN before preparing returns. Even enrolled agents must also have a valid PTIN.So, anyone who is offering you a tax return or form filing services , you must seek his/her PTIN and check with the online directory of IRS that is available to public
Importance of PTIN is so much that there is a penalty for not having a valid PTIN in tax return by the preparer.Under IRC Sec. 6695(c), the penalty for not providing a valid PTIN on the tax returns you prepare is $50 for each failure to comply that can accrue a maximum of $25,500 in a calendar year.Aside from penalties, an injunction may also be imposed of the tax return prepare , or the IRS’ Office of Professional Responsibility make take disciplinary action.
PTIN vs CAF vs EFIN. What’s the diff?
PTIN is not a CAF or Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number which is an identification number of tax preparers who wish to access their client’s confidential information or represent their client before the IRS. Similarly, a PTIN is also not an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) which is required for IRS e-file providers. They must quote the EFIN with any electronic return data sent to the IRS. Most tax preparers need both a PTIN and EFIN.
How to search for a tax return preparer near you?
Anyone with a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) can prepare a tax return for a client. However, tax return preparers have differing levels of skills, education, and expertise. This searchable directory is intended t help you with your choice by providing a listing of preparers in your area who currently hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS or who hold an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion.
It is easy. Visit the IRS page for a lookup of tax return preparers who have a PTIN issued by the IRS or have obtained an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion from the IRS. In fact, the IRS online tool to find a tax return preparer near you. It also lets you determine the type of credentials or qualifications held by a specific tax professional.
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