February 2, 2017
The IRS alerted tax practitioners that it will soon be publishing their registration information online. The information was previously available only on a CD-ROM for a $35 fee for those who submitted a request to the IRS. The information will be available without cost.
The Freedom of Information Act requires the IRS to release certain information about people who hold preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs) and enrolled agents. The information includes the PTIN holder’s name, business name, mailing address, phone number, website, email address, and professional credentials (see the IRS webpage, “FOIA Awareness for PTIN Holders”).
The IRS told PTIN holders that they may now use P.O. boxes for their business mailing address. It also said that if a practitioner used a personal address instead of a business address, or used a street address instead of a P.O. box, he or she may want to change it. It also advised practitioners who receive unwanted solicitations to report the problem to the Federal Trade Commission.
According to the IRS in a Jan. 26 email from the IRS Office of National Public Liaison, the Freedom of Information Improvement Act of 2016, P.L. 114-185, enacted June 30, 2016, requires agencies to “make available for public inspection in an electronic format … copies of all records … that have been requested 3 or more times.”
The IRS said it is now working to implement downloadable versions of the PTIN holder and enrolled agent lists in its Electronic Reading Room on irs.gov, and that the lists will be updated twice a year and be available at no cost. The IRS will provide an update when the lists are placed on the website.
[Journal of Accounting]