Anyone preparing or helping prepare federal tax returns for pay must have a valid Preparers Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
PTIN applications and renewals for coming tax seasons become available through the IRS website traditionally in the middle to the end of October. Be aware and cautious that PTINs are issued and valid for a calendar year. If you apply for a 2016 PTIN in November of 2016, it will only be valid through December 31st, 2016, and you would then have pay an additional fee to renew your PTIN for the 2017 calendar year.
General requirements for obtaining a PTIN are that an individual must have a Social Security Number and must have filed a tax return in at least one of the prior two preceding years. The fee for initially registering a PTIN is $50, and the annual fee for renewal is also $50.
The IRS created and maintains an online account for PTIN holders. You can create an account or log into an existing account by visiting the IRS website at https://rpr.irs.gov/datamart/login.do
We highly suggest registering and/or renewing your PTIN via the IRS's website, but if you prefer they do offer a paper application option. This application/renewal option will take approximately 4-6 weeks to process and is done via completing and submitting via mail form W-12, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw12.pdf