The Internal Revenue Service said in an email to tax professionals Friday that the Freedom of Information Act requires the IRS to release certain information about Preparer Tax Identification Number holders.

The IRS has created guidance on what information is released and how a PTIN holder can update their contact information. The IRS noted that the Freedom of Information Act requires the IRS to release certain information about PTIN holders including name, business name, business Web site address, business phone number, business mailing address (either a physical address or a P.O. Box is acceptable as a business address, email address (any valid email address that you check regularly for PTIN communications is acceptable) and professional credentials. (Disclosure: Accounting Today has sometimes requested FOIA information from the IRS to build its mailing lists).

The IRS said it is changing the “Permanent Mailing Address” box on the PTIN application to “Personal Mailing Address”. This change clarifies that the information is personal and exempt from public disclosure under FOIA rules.

The IRS said it is also removing the prohibition on entering a post office box in the “Business Mailing Address” box on the PTIN application. PTIN holders may now enter a P.O. Box as their business mailing address.

If a tax preparer has used their personal mailing address as their Business Mailing Address or used a street address when they would have preferred to provide a P.O Box as their Business Mailing Address, the IRS advised that they may want to update their contact information.  This information is not exempt from disclosure under FOIA rules and it will be released even if it is the same as your Personal Mailing Address.

To maintain the privacy of their personal information, PTIN holders can update contact information through the following instructions:

•    Instructions for online account holders
•    Instructions for paper account holders

 

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