How to Access Your IRS PIN Number

If you’re a tax return preparer, you’ll have to comply with regulations instituted by the Internal Revenue Service. One requirement is submitting a PTIN, which is your preparer tax identification number.

What Is a PTIN?

Anyone preparing or helping others prepare their federal income tax returns and getting paid for this service has to have a valid PTIN in place for the current year. You have to have a valid PTIN in place before you proceed with any tax return preparation. You’ll identify yourself as the tax preparer with your PTIN. If you don’t have a valid PTIN, you may be penalized.

IRS Gov PTIN Registration

Registering for a new PTIN is a simple process. You’ll have to create a new account with the IRS within the online PTIN system, giving your name, email address and security questions. You’ll get a temporary password via email, which you should then change with your first log-in.

Applying for the PTIN is the next step, which requires the following:

  • Social Security number
  • Personal and business contact information
  • Previous year’s income tax return
  • Details about any felony convictions
  • Outstanding individual or business tax obligations
  • Applicable U.S.-based professional certifications you’ve earned

You’ll get your PTIN securely through your PTIN account, and the IRS will also email you updates.

IRS Gov Renewal PTIN

Your PTIN will expire on December 31 of the current year. The IRS issues PTINs for each calendar year. You’ll need to submit an application for PTIN renewal, and you can complete this process from mid-October onward.

Log in to your PTIN account and complete the renewal application. You’ll need to verify personal and business information and provide a few answers to questions. Submit the renewal application, and the IRS will update your account to show that your PTIN is renewed and current.

How to Look Up PTIN

If you’re not sure of your PTIN status, the IRS provides a means to look up PTIN information. Log in to your account and go to the main menu page. From there, click “show details” and you should see details about your PTIN status. If you don’t see any information, you may not have linked your PTIN to your account, or it hasn’t been issued yet.

Typical Time for PTIN Issuance

It’s fast and easy to apply for a PTIN online. Most people finish the process in about 15 minutes, and the IRS doesn’t charge a fee.


If you prefer to apply for a PTIN by mail, you can complete form W-12 in hard copy and mail it in. You’ll get your PTIN in four to six weeks.