Preparers of federal returns must renew Preparer Tax Identification Numbers that expire Dec. 31.

Anyone who prepares or helps prepare a federal tax return or claim for refund for compensation must have a valid 2018 PTIN from the IRS. The PTIN must be used as the identifying number on prepared returns. Enrolled agents, regardless of whether they prepare returns, must also have a PTIN to maintain their status.

Those with a 2017 PTIN can renew online at Thanks to a court ruling in June, there is no fee for obtaining or renewing a PTIN. (See “IRS loses lawsuit over PTIN fees.”)

Paper applications and renewals take four to six weeks to process.

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