The Internal Revenue Service has issued over 50,000 Preparer Tax Identification Numbers since opening its online registration system less than a month ago, but the system has experienced a number of birth pains, the IRS reported.

“Thanks to the collective efforts of the tax professional community and early adopters, we have been able to resolve many of the initial start-up challenges with the IRS Tax Professional PTIN System experienced by some users,” the IRS wrote in an e-mail alert to tax professionals on Thursday. “As a result, the IRS has issued over 50,000 PTINs to date. We will continue our efforts to address any further challenges as they arise and we very much appreciate the helpful input and feedback we have received.”

The IRS added that it updates a set of online PTIN system frequently asked questions as it receives feedback from taxpayers. “Check the FAQs before you get started to make sure you have the most current PTIN information and what you need to get your PTIN,” said the IRS. “Although the Web site and call center continue to experience high volumes, we continue to see improvements in functionality and responsiveness. Thank you for your continued patience and for being a critical partner in tax administration.”

The IRS launched the PTIN registration system in late September as part of its effort to regulate, test and educate tax preparers (see IRS Opens Online Tax Preparer Registration System).

The IRS has been experiencing problems lately with not only its PTIN registration system, but also with another relatively new online system for receiving electronically filed tax returns. The IRS’s Modernized e-File system, or MeF, was shut down for scheduled maintenance last weekend and the IRS was unable to get it back up and running until mid-Tuesday afternoon (see IRS Servers Go Down at Inopportune Time).

The computer problems came at a critical time for taxpayers and nonprofits, only a few days before the October 15 deadline for taxpayers on extension to file the 1040 returns they didn’t complete by April 15. Friday is also the deadline for small nonprofits to file a Form 990-N before losing their tax-exempt status if they haven’t managed to file an “e-Postcard” form with the IRS in the past three years. Last tax season, the MeF system managed to process only 8.1 percent of the tax returns it had been expected to process (see IRS’s New E-file System Flops with 1040 Returns).

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