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Just when you thought your tax return was correctly signed, sealed and delivered, the IRS just informed the public that 100,000 tax preparers did not include a correct Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). As part of the IRS’s initiative to increase its oversight over the tax preparation industry, tax preparers are now required to obtain a PTIN and include it with their signatures on the tax returns that they prepare. You might be asking yourself, “How do I know if my tax preparer included what they were suppose to when the tax return was prepared.”

	tax-preparer-ptinWhy is My Tax Preparer’s PTIN Incorrect?
It’s possible that your tax preparer was not notified of the new PTIN requirements. In addition, they may have mistakenly included an outdated PTIN on your tax return instead. But this begs the question of why work with a tax preparer that makes careless mistakes. Furthermore, shouldn’t they be well aware of all changes in regulations that impact the tax preparation industry? The final explanation is that you have an unscrupulous tax preparer. There are a few bad eggs out there that deliberately exclude a PTIN from a tax return to avoid IRS oversight. If this is the case, which may be difficult to determine, it’s time to hire a new tax preparer.

Check If Your Tax Preparer Included their PTIN
Before sending in your tax return, it is strongly recommended to review and verify the information on the tax return. This includes making sure the tax preparer properly signed the return and included their PTIN. Check a copy of your now filed tax return (you should have made one if you didn’t) to make sure the preparer did in fact sign the tax return correctly and included their PTIN. If an incorrect PTIN number was used, the tax preparer will be notified shortly and if there was any significant issues with the return, the IRS should be notifying you if they haven’t already done so.

How to Check the Status of My Tax Preparer’s PTIN?
Unfortunately, there is not an online IRS database to search a listing of preparers by PTIN. But, you can request that your preparer furnish a copy of the PTIN they received from the IRS and you can contact the IRS directly to verify it.

More Tax Questions? Browse Answers or Ask a CPA.

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  1. michele cipollone / January 19th, 2012

    how can i verify a tax preparer’s id # – to make sure that it is there # and not a made up # or someone else’s #

  2. The BIDaWIZ Team / January 19th, 2012

    Hi Michele,

    Thank you for your question. Unfortunately the IRS does not have an online system in place to verify tax preparer PTIN numbers. But, the tax preparer’s PTIN # is issued by the IRS so you can certainly request documentation from the tax preparer that the IRS sent to them with their PTIN number. You can even ask for the number and call the IRS directly to verify the number. One other thing to note is that CPAs and Enrolled Agent licenses are recommended when having tax preparation done. Here’s an article on selecting the right tax preparer which you may find helpful.

    Please let us know if you have any other questions. We’re happy to assist.

    The BIDaWIZ Team

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