The Internal Revenue Service has issued a notice exempting enrolled retirement plan agents from obtaining a Preparer Tax Identification Number if they only prepare Form 5300 and 5500 series returns.

In Notice 2011-91, the IRS said it heard from public comments on its tax preparer regulations that many enrolled retirement plan agents prepare only Form 5300 (Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plan) and Form 5500 (Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan) series returns, but not tax returns and claims for refund. An earlier notice, Notice 2011-6, provided that a tax return preparer must have a PTIN to prepare for compensation any IRS form unless the form is expressly identified as not requiring a PTIN. Notice 2011-6 further provides a list of forms for which no PTIN is required. Among the forms included on this list are the Form 5300 and the Form 5500 series returns.

The Treasury Department and the IRS intend to amend Circular 230 to remove the requirement for individuals to have a PTIN prior to applying for enrollment or renewing enrollment as enrolled retirement plan agents. Effective immediately, enrolled retirement plan agents and applicants to become enrolled retirement plan agents are not required to have a PTIN to apply for enrollment or renew enrollment as an enrolled retirement plan agent.

Enrolled retirement plan agents must, however, obtain a PTIN if, for compensation, they prepare, or assist in the preparation of, all or substantially all of any tax return or claim for refund that is not on the list of forms exempt from the PTIN requirement as provided in Section 1.03 of Notice 2011-6 or any future guidance.

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