The Internal Revenue Service said it is delaying until further notice the renewal period for enrolled agents whose Social Security numbers or tax identification numbers end in 4, 5 or 6.

Circular 230 requires that, to maintain active enrollment to practice before the IRS, enrolled agents must renew their enrollment every third year after their initial enrollment is granted. An enrolled agent’s renewal schedule is determined by the last digit of the individual’s Social Security or tax identification number as provided in Section 10.6(d) of Circular 230. The renewal schedules are staggered, with approximately one third of enrolled agents renewing every year.

To apply for renewal, individuals file a Form 8554, “Application for Renewal of Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service.” The form must be filed between November 1 and January 31 of the appropriate year, and renewal is effective on April 1. The renewal period for enrolled agents whose Social Security numbers or tax identification numbers end in 4, 5, or 6 is scheduled to begin on Nov. 1, 2010, and end on Jan. 31, 2011. 

However, the IRS is currently implementing new regulations for registering, testing and educating tax preparers, as described in Publication 4832, “Return Preparer Review,” which was published on Jan. 4, 2010. As part of the implementation, the IRS published regulations that require all individuals who apply for or renew a Preparer Tax Identification Number to pay a $50 user fee, plus a separate fee of $14.25 to a third-party vendor.

A portion of the costs to the government to process a PTIN application or renewal, which are recovered by the $50 user fee, overlaps with the costs to the government to process an initial enrollment or renewal of enrollment application.  The Treasury Department and the IRS anticipate that the enrolled agent initial enrollment and renewal of enrollment user fees may be substantially reduced in the future.  

To ensure that the revised user fee to renew enrollment as an enrolled agent is effective before the start of the next renewal period, the IRS is delaying the upcoming renewal period for enrolled agents whose Social Security numbers or tax identification numbers end in 4, 5, or 6 until further notice.

When a date for the renewal period is determined, the IRS will publish a schedule for affected enrolled agents to renew their enrollment in the Internal Revenue Bulletin and on the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility webpage at http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/agents/index.html. This schedule will be published at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the revised period for enrollment. Affected enrolled agents will have at least 60 calendar days but no more than 120 calendar days under the revised renewal of enrollment schedule to submit the required applications for renewal.

The Office of Professional Responsibility will not accept or process applications for renewal of enrollment until the period for renewal of enrollment is announced in the Internal Revenue Bulletin and on the OPR webpage.

This delay will not have an impact on an affected enrolled agent’s current status as an enrolled agent in good standing. Also, this delay will not affect the number of hours of continuing professional education required for renewal or the time period within which these hours must be completed.

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