He also outlined plans under which a Preparer Tax Identification Number, valid for three years, must be used on all federal returns prepared after December 31 or on claims signed by preparers. However, those who get PTINs before tests are available will have three years before being required to take them. Once testing is available, unregistered, unenrolled preparers would have to pass tests before obtaining a PTIN. To prevent TPIN certificates from being duplicated, the IRS also plans to create a public database of registered tax preparers
PTIN applicants will be subject to tax compliance checks to ensure preparers have filed their own tax returns and paid, or made arrangements with the IRS for payment of federal tax debts.
There will not be a public awareness campaign regarding PTINs until after an education campaign for preparers starts in the middle of next year. After that, Williams said outreach to the public would begin.
Those subject to the tests must complete 15 hours of continuing education each year, including three hours of federal tax law updates, two hours of ethics and 10 hours of federal tax law. Williams said that would require revamping the current CE sponsor approval program. The IRS wants to make sure education providers offer "a minimum level of value," he commented.