Tax season is right around the corner. If you intend to prepare 2015 tax returns, get started now to fulfill IRS requirements. There are a few changes this year as well as important deadlines.
TaxSlayer Director of Education David Elijah recommends the following key pieces of information to get you ready for tax season.
1. First, keep in mind that tax returns will be due April 18, 2016 for this upcoming filing season.
2. Obtain an EFIN, or Electronic Filing Identification Number, if you don’t already have one. This year, you must electronically file your returns if you file 11 or more individual federal tax returns per calendar year from your office. In order to electronically file your returns, you must have an IRS-issued EFIN. To apply and get your EFIN, use the IRS’ e-services – Online Tools for Tax Professionals. We strongly suggest that you apply for your EFIN now to have a chance of getting it before filing season.
3. Renew or apply for your PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) now. If you prepare or assist in the preparation of federal tax returns for compensation, you must apply for or renew your PTIN each year by December 31. The same is also true if you are an Enrolled Agent (EA). The renewal period has begun and the fee is $50 this year. The easiest and fastest method to renew is to use the IRS’ online registration system. Receipt of your PTIN is immediate upon your successful renewal or registration.
4. This year, Continuing Education is not mandatory, but back in June 2014, the IRS announced a voluntary program for unenrolled tax preparers. Tax preparers who complete a required amount of approved CE by December 31 will earn an Annual Filing Season Program record of completion. These preparers will also be listed in a public database on the IRS website called the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers. Attorneys, CPAs and Enrolled Agents will be included in the directory but are exempt from the AFSP requirements.
Starting with the 2015 tax return year, preparers who do not participate in the AFSP will not be permitted to represent clients in audits on returns they prepare and sign. Attorneys, CPAs and Enrolled Agents will continue to have representation rights.
Best regards getting ready for tax season!