The Internal Revenue Service reminded tax preparers to renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers before they expire at the end of the year.

All 2011 PTINs will expire on Dec. 31 and must be renewed annually, the IRS noted. The IRS urged preparers to start their renewal process now to avoid missing the deadline to prepare returns next tax season.

To renew, preparers need to visit www.irs.gov/ptin and log into their existing PTIN account. After selecting PTIN Renewal, they simply review the information they have previously provided for any updates, answer two new questions, and pay a renewal fee of $63.

CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents, and those with other professional credentials must also add the expiration date of their credentials.

The IRS offered the following tips for making the online application process go smoothly:

Can’t remember your User ID for you PTIN account?

•    If you are unable to remember your User ID, go to the PTIN account sign-in screen. Click the “Forgot User ID” link on the right-hand side of the screen.

•    Once you enter the email address and answer the secret question you chose when you first registered last year, an email will be sent containing your User ID.

•    If you do not receive your email within 24 hours, check the “Junk” or “Spam” folder of your email account.

Can’t remember your password to your PTIN account?

•    Follow these instructions to create a new PTIN account password:

•    Go to the PTIN account sign-in screen and click the “Forgot Password” link on the right-hand side of the screen.

•    Enter the User ID of your PTIN account. If you are unsure of your user ID or if you get the message stating “User ID Not Found” click the ”Forgot User ID” link on the same screen to retrieve your User ID.

•    Once you enter the User ID and answer the secret question you chose when you first created your PTIN account, an email will be sent to you that contains a temporary password.

•    If you do not receive your email within 24 hours, check the “Junk” or “Spam” folder of your email account.

•    Once you receive your temporary password, log into your PTIN account with your user ID and temporary password.

•    Follow the steps on the screens to reset your password.

•    Carefully note your username and password for future reference.

Don’t have access to your email address?

•    Select “Forgot or Cannot Access Email?” from the PTIN homepage.

•    Enter your Last Name, Date of Birth, and PTIN and select Next.

•    Enter your Social Security Number and the answer to your Secret Question.

•    Enter a new email address to associate with your account. NOTE: Use only an email address that you will have access to throughout the calendar year. You will receive all PTIN correspondence at this email address.

•    You will receive your user ID at the new email address you provided. If you need to change that user ID, log into your PTIN account and select “View/Edit Login Information” from the Main Menu.

Paper Applications
Preparers who applied for PTINs using a paper Form W-12 last year are encouraged to renew online. An activation code and instructions were mailed to each paper applicant for this purpose.

Individuals who prefer to renew their PTIN on paper must mail a Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number Application and Renewal.  The response time is 4 to 6 weeks.

These and other “Get Help” tips are available on the PTIN page at www.irs.gov/ptin.

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