2013 Tax Season: Questions and Answers 


    This page offers answers to questions related to the late start to filing season, ongoing delays in the release of IRS forms and the impact of the PTIN lawsuit on CPAs.

    1. Do I still need to have a PTIN as a CPA?
    2. What if I have not yet renewed my existing PTIN?
    3. What if I have not finished my PTIN application online and now the online system is down?
    4. If I already have a PTIN, but haven’t renewed it, can I still use it?
    5. When will IRS release more tax forms than for use during the current filing season?
    6. Why doesn’t IRS extend filing season since there is a delay on when they can accept and process returns?
    7. What is the AICPA doing to help members resolve the issues with the PTIN system?
    8. Where can I go for more information and updates on the PTIN lawsuit?


    1. Do I still need to have a PTIN as a CPA?

    Yes, CPAs (and others) who prepare all or substantially all of one return (or more) for compensation need to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Internal Revenue Code sections 6109(a) and 6695(c) require paid preparers to use and furnish an “identifying number” on tax returns prepared for clients.

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    2. What if I have not yet renewed my existing PTIN?

    After the court decision, the IRS suspended the PTIN regulation program, including the online PTIN registration/renewal system. However, a valid PTIN is still required (see Question 1).  The IRS reopened the PTIN system on Saturday, Feb. 2, after receiving additional clarification from the District Court on the activities barred by their injunction.

    On Feb. 1, AICPA sent a letter to IRS (see Question 7) urging them to resolve the system issues, saying "our members need immediate guidance on how to obtain new or renew existing PTINs, and we would ask that the IRS not delay such guidance waiting for an outcome from the courts."  For ongoing developments, visit our Tax Preparer Registration page.

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    3. What if I have not finished my PTIN application online and now the online system is down?

    Despite the recent court decision (See Question 2), a valid PTIN is still required (see Question 1).  The IRS reopened the PTIN system on Saturday, Feb. 2, after receiving additional clarification from the District Court on the activities barred by their injunction.

    More information and ongoing updates can be found on the Tax Preparer Registration page on our website.

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    4. If I already have a PTIN, but haven’t renewed it, can I still use it?

    A PTIN is not considered valid for this filing season if it has not been renewed.

    The IRS reopened the PTIN system on Saturday, Feb. 2, after receiving additional clarification from the District Court on the activities barred by their injunction.

    More information and ongoing updates can be found on the Tax Preparer Registration page on our website.

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    5. When will IRS release more tax forms for use during the current filing season?

    We have been in constant contact with IRS officials about the problems the delays in the release of tax forms are causing for our members and clients (see Question 7).  In our Feb. 1 letter to IRS regarding issues with the PTIN filing system, we also expressed concern for the additional burden on our members resulting from the delay in the availability of forms. We will notify our members as soon as we receive updated information regarding the release of additional tax forms. In general, the vast majority of Form 1040 series forms and schedules are currently available for filing. However, the IRS has listed a number of forms that they will not be able to process until late February or possibly even early March. For a complete list, visit the IRS website.

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    6. Why doesn’t IRS extend filing season since there is a delay on when they can accept and process returns?

    In general, the annual tax filing deadline for Form 1040 filers is fixed by statute as April 15 for calendar year filers and the IRS doesn’t have the authority to change that date. If additional time is necessary to prepare and file, taxpayers should consider requesting an extension. The AICPA continues to monitor the situation and discuss the availability of forms with the IRS. For tips and strategies on managing the extension process, we invite Tax Section members to join us on Thursday, March 21st for our Tax Power Hour where we will be spending the entire hour discussion extensions, from procedures, to efiling, batch filing and managing client expectations.  The Tax Power Hour is available free, without CPE to Tax Section members only.
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    7. What is the AICPA doing to help members resolve the issues with the PTIN system?

    The AICPA sent a letter to Steven T. Miller, Acting Commissioner, urging the IRS to resolve the issues with the PTIN application system since the Loving decision "...does not affect the Circular 230 regulatory requirements for CPAs, or the statutory requirement that a paid tax return preparer affix a PTIN to the returns prepared by that individual."  The temporary shut-down of the system has "left a number of our members unable to comply with the [PTIN] requirement."  Visit our Tax Preparer Registration page for the latest developments.

    We are pleased to report that the IRS reopened the PTIN system on Saturday, Feb. 2, after receiving additional clarification from the District Court on the activities barred by their injunction.  Upon entering the system, you may see the following on the login screen:

    ALERT: The PTIN system is being updated to reflect current requirements. Until those updates can be completed, a screen titled Continuing Education (CE) Completion may appear during PTIN renewal. Please check either one of the boxes on that screen. This information is NOT being collected, but you must check a box to advance to the next screen. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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    8. Where can I go for more information and updates on the PTIN lawsuit?

    We will continue to update our Tax Preparer Registration page with the latest developments.

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