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Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) – Overview

Anyone who prepares or assists in preparing federal tax returns for compensation must have a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) before filing returns.  The PTIN is a nine-digit number that is used in place of the paid preparer’s SSN of any federal tax return or claim for refund.  All enrolled agents must also have a PTIN.

Most first-time applicants can obtain a PTIN in about 15 minutes by visiting the online PTIN System and clicking on “Create an Online PTIN Account”. At this time, there is no fee to apply for a PTIN. View this checklist to get started.


It only takes about 15 minutes to apply for or renew your PTIN online. But if you prefer to use the paper option, Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Application, it will take 4-6 weeks to process. For more information on completing Form W-12, view instructions.

Your PTIN will expire on December 31 each year and must be renewed.  To renew your PTIN log in to your online PTIN Account and enter your User ID and Password in the Returning User section at the top left side of the page.  At this time, there is no fee to renew a PTIN. If you do not have an online PTIN account, you can create one by clicking “Create an Online PTIN Account” on the PTIN system login page.

Can’t remember your User ID/Password for your PTIN account?
If you are unable to remember your User ID or password, go to the PTIN system login page. Select the Forgot User ID or Forgot Password link on the top left side of the screen. Enter your email address and answer the secret question you chose when you registered. An email will be sent containing your User ID or Password. If you do not receive your email within 24 hours, check the ‘Junk’ or ‘Spam’ folder of your email account.

Forgot or Cannot Access Email for your PTIN account

  • If you forgot or cannot access the email address you used when you set up your online PTIN account, go to the PTIN System login page and select the Forgot or cannot access email? link. Enter your Last NameDate of Birth, and PTIN and select Next.
  • Enter your Social Security Number and the answer to your Secret Question.
  • Enter a new email address to associate with your account.  NOTE: Use only an email address that you will have access to throughout the calendar year.  You will receive all PTIN correspondence at this email address.
  • You will receive your User ID at the new email address you provided.  If you need to change that user ID, log into your PTIN account and select ‘View/Edit Login Information‘ from the Main Menu.

Contact Numbers for PTIN Related Questions

Have your PTIN ready before calling the PTIN line.

Primary Toll-Free: 877-613-PTIN (7846)

TTY: 877-613-3686

Toll Number for International Callers: +1 915-342-5655

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (CST)


NOTE: These phone numbers are for tax professionals only and DO NOT aid with individual income tax return or refund issues.

Updated on July 9, 2018

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