Are you new to the Tax Preparation business? Welcome, here is a handy guide to get you started. We can walk you trough each of the steps, simply click below to email us or call our hotline.
Quickstart guide to becoming a Tax Preparer
There are 4 steps to becoming a Tax preparer:
Apply for EFIN
In order to start, you need an EFIN, or Electronic Filing Identification Number.
What it does is allow you to file federal and state tax returns on electronically the computer.
Please not that getting an EFIN might take up to 45 days.
Obtain or renew your PTIN
You will then need a PTIN, Preparer Tax Identification Number. It is a requirement for any person who prepares a tax return as a profession. The process can be done online, and it usually pretty quick.
If you have an office, every preparer needs a PTIN.
Different states have different requirements for Tax preparers, beyond the federal requirements.
Make sure you know the laws that apply to where you will conduct business by looking at the IRS website.
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Getting your EFIN
There are 3 steps to getting your EFIN, or Electronic Filing Identification Number:
Step 1: Create an IRS e-services Account
Before you begin the online e-file application, you must have an IRS e-services account, which facilitates electronic interaction with the IRS. All e-Services users must register using a two-factor authentication process called Secure Access. Here's what you need to get started:
- A readily available email address;
- Your Social Security number;
- Your filing status and address from your last-filed tax return;
- Your personal account number from a:
– credit card, or
– home mortgage loan, or
– home equity (second mortgage) loan, or
– home equity line of credit (HELOC), or
– car loan (The IRS does not retain this data)
- A readily available mobile device.
For instant access, your name must be associated with a U.S-based mobile phone capable of receiving text messages. If the mobile number cannot be linked to your name, you may opt for a mailed activation code during registration.
Step 2: Submit Your Application to Become an Authorized IRS e-file Provider
Once essential people are approved for e-services, your firm can begin the application to become an authorized e-file provider.
The application process is not simple, but as a tax professional, you understand these steps are necessary to protect the integrity and security of the electronic filing system. We all have a stake in maintaining the highest standards for e-file providers.
Because the application is so comprehensive, it is designed so that you can save your data from a session, close out and return to it when convenient.
Another caution about time: It can take up to 45 days for the IRS to approve an e-file application. So please plan accordingly and allow enough time.
Several important things to note:
First, you will supply identification information for your firm
Next, you will enter information about each Principal and Responsible Official in your organization
You choose your e-file provider option. If you are a return preparer and want to e-file for clients, select electronic return originator, or ERO.
If the Principal or Responsible Official is someone who is certified or licensed, such as an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent, they must enter current professional status information
All other individuals need to provide fingerprints to the IRS. You can get a fingerprint card by calling 866-255-0654
Be fingerprinted by a trained professional – your local police station will likely provide this service for a modest fee or there are commercial services. Then mail the signed and completed card to the IRS at:
310 LOWELL ST STOP 983
EFU ACCEPTANCE TESTING
ANDOVER MA 01810-5430
Your application is complete.
It is our job at the IRS to finish the e-file authorization process for you.
Step 3: Pass a Suitability Check
After you submit your application and related documents, the IRS will conduct a suitability check on the firm and each person listed on your application as either a principal or responsible official.
This may include: a credit check; a tax compliance check; a criminal background check; and a check for prior non-compliance with IRS e-file requirements. Once approved, you will get an acceptance letter from the IRS with your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).
Getting your PTIN
There are 3 steps to getting your PTIN, or Preparer Tax Identification Number
- 1- Create Your Account — First, you must create an account by providing your name, email address and security question information. The system will then email your temporary password, which you will change when you go back to enter your information in the PTIN application.
- 2- Apply for Your PTIN — You will complete the online application by providing personal information, information about your previous year’s tax return, professional credentials, and more as shown below. There is a modest fee of $64.25.
- 3- Get Your PTIN — After completion of the online application, your PTIN is provided online
Before you begin your PTIN application, be sure you have the following available:
- Social Security Number
- Personal information (name, mailing address, date of birth)
- Business information (name, mailing address, telephone number)
- Previous year’s individual tax return (name, address, filing status)
- Explanations for felony convictions (if any)
- Explanations for problems with your U.S. individual or business tax obligations (if any)
- If applicable, any U.S.-based professional certification information (CPA, attorney, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, enrolled actuary, certified acceptance agent, or state license) including certification number, jurisdiction of issuance, and expiration date
After you submit your application and related documents, the IRS will conduct a suitability check on the firm and each person listed on your application as either a principal or responsible official. This may include: a credit check; a tax compliance check; a criminal background check; and a check for prior non-compliance with IRS e-file requirements. Once approved, you will get an acceptance letter from the IRS with your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).
Renewing your PTIN
All PTINs expire on December 31 of each year. If you assist someone in filing taxes in exchange for compensation, you need to renew your PTIN. Everything from filing for a EFIN or PTIN can be done on the irs.org webiste.