[Post #1100] The Internal Revenue Service announced today that tax preparers could sign up in mid-September to receive a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). The PTIN would be required by any paid tax preparer starting next January. The $64.25 fee would include $50 for technology and compliance charges by the IRS and $14.25 in administrative charges by an unknown third-party vendor. The IRS plans to require annual renewal of the PTIN and may change the yearly fee after determining actual costs of the identification program.
I was and remain an uneasy supporter of the preparer program--certainly it penalizes those who take ill during tax season and those preparing only a few returns; some also argue that it presently discriminates in favor of EAs, CPAs and attorneys. It is hard to argue reasonableness of a less than $100 annual fee, though some bottom-end preparers may be forced out (more than a few would consider this a good thing). Time will tell whether the ID program improves tax compliance or simply is another revenue raiser to feed Washington's insatiable desire for cash.