WASHINGTON —The Internal Revenue Service today reminded the nation's more than 715,000 federal tax return preparers that they must renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) for 2016. All current PTINs will expire Dec. 31, 2015.

Anyone who prepares, or assists in preparing, substantially all of a federal tax return or claim for refund for compensation must have a valid PTIN from the IRS. The PTIN must be used as the identifying number on these prepared returns.

“We ask that you renew your PTIN as soon as possible to avoid a last-minute rush,” said Carol A. Campbell, Director of the IRS Return Preparer Office. “It's easy to let this slip as the holiday season approaches.”

Many tax professionals have already shown they see the value in renewing early. The online system has been processing 2016 renewals since Nov. 1. During the first 10 days of availability, more than 136,000 preparers have renewed their PTINs and over 4,000 have obtained new PTINs for the upcoming 2016 tax season.

Whether applying for a first-time PTIN or renewing a 2015 PTIN, the action can be completed online and only takes a few minutes. The annual fee is $50. If you already have a PTIN and cannot remember your user ID and password, there are online tools to assist you. Tax return preparers can get started at www.irs.gov/ptin.

Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number Application and Renewal, is available for paper applications and renewals, but takes four to six weeks to process. Failure to have and use a valid PTIN when preparing returns may result in penalties for paid tax return preparers. All enrolled agents, regardless of whether they prepare returns, must have a PTIN in order to maintain their status.

Annual Filing Season Program Participation Kicks Off

With the opening of the 2016 PTIN renewal season, the IRS will also begin issuing Annual Filing Season Program Records of Completion for 2016.

The IRS Annual Filing Season Program is intended to encourage non-credentialed tax return preparers to voluntarily take continuing education (CE) courses to increase their knowledge and improve their filing season readiness. Participation generally requires 18 hours of CE, including a course in basic tax filing issues and updates, ethics, as well as other federal tax law courses. More information on the types and amounts of CE required for the program is available at www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Annual-Filing-Season-Program.

In addition to continuing education, to participate in the Annual Filing Season Program, PTIN holders must have a valid PTIN for 2016 and must also consent to adhere to specific practice requirements in Treasury Department Circular No. 230 in order to receive an Annual Filing Season Program - Record of Completion.

The IRS has created a new video to demonstrate how to sign the Circular 230 consent and print the Record of Completion.

Tax return preparers who participate in the program are included in the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications created to help taxpayers make wise decisions when choosing tax return preparers.

The directory also contains information on attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents (ERPAs) and enrolled actuaries who are registered with the IRS.

Guidance on the different types of tax return preparers is available at https://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Understanding-Tax-Return-Preparer-Credentials-and-Qualifications

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Upcoming Tax Dates

June 10 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of May.

June 12 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during May, report them to your employer Details

June 14 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 16 days of May.

June 15 — Individuals
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living and working (or on military duty) outside the United States and Puerto Rico, file Form 1040 and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due. If you want additional time to file your return, file Form 4868 to obtain 4 additional months to file Details

June 15 — Individuals
Make a payment of your 2017 estimated tax if you are not paying your income tax for the year through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax that way). Use Form 1040-ES. This is the second installment Details

June 15 — Corporations
Deposit the second installment of estimated income tax for 2017 Details

June 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in May

June 15 — Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in May.

June 27 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 16 days of May.

June 29 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of June.

June 30 — Wagering tax
File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during May.

June 30 — Floor stocks tax for ozone depleting chemicals
(IRS No. 20). Deposit the tax for January 1, 2017.

View More Tax Dates