A Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is an ID number that comes directly from the IRS. All enrolled agents and preparers who plan to file tax returns for paying clients are legally required to have a PTIN. If you work in an office setting where there are many preparers, every individual in the office should have their own PTIN.
You can apply for a PTIN online in about 15 minutes, or you can complete and mail in a paper Form W-12.
Note: The processing time for paper applications is four to six weeks. There is no cost to apply for a PTIN.
When you are ready to create your account, head to the IRS website, here.
You will be asked to provide the following information:
This completes the application process.
Yes. PTINs expire on December 31 each year. All PTINs expire – there are no exceptions. If you applied for and received a
PTIN to file tax returns last tax season, you will need to renew your PTIN. The IRS begins receiving applications
for PTIN renewals around the middle of October. To renew or to update your PTIN account information, visit irs.gov/ptin.
Have a copy of last year's tax return and your Social Security number ready.
Click on Renew Your PTIN at the top of the page.
Log in to your PTIN account.
You will be asked to verify personal information and answer a few questions. You will need to provide the following:
Yes. An Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) is a six-digit ID issued by the IRS. You are required to have an EFIN in order to use IRS e-file for filing tax returns.
Most tax preparers need an Electronic Filing Identification Number. If you plan to prepare more than 11 tax returns in a year, you are required to use IRS e-file, and so you will need an EFIN.
An EFIN comes directly from the IRS. The application process is somewhat complicated and takes longer than the PTIN process. To apply for an EFIN, you will need to follow these three steps:
For more information about how to apply for an EFIN and to become an Authorized e-file Provider, click here.