PTIN is mandatory for all Enrolled Agents
Beginning in 2011, it became mandatory for Enrolled Agents to maintain a current Preparer Tax ID Number (PTIN). It is necessary to have a current PTIN on your renewal Form 8554 in order to renew your EA status.
CPE credits reported to PTIN system
In mid-2012, the IRS began requiring CPE Providers, such as FunCPE, to report all CPE credits earned by any student that provides a PTIN to the provider. Although our course system allows you to enter "none" in the PTIN field when registering for courses, it is most likely advantageous to have your CPE credit reported to the IRS.
If you enter "none" in the PTIN field and "EA" in the professional license field during registration, we ordinarily will contact you, asking you for a PTIN. We assume that an Enrolled Agent wants us to report their CE Courses to the IRS, but you can "opt out" by not providing your PTIN to us.
Viewing your CE credits on the IRS PTIN system
You can login to the IRS PTIN system to view your credit hours. The current year hours are displayed, and prior year hours are available using a drop down menu. The credits for 2012 are not displayed in your account because it was a partial year.
We have received a number of inquiries from EAs that were concerned that Tax Update courses were possibly not valid for EA credit. Our Tax Update courses are fully accepted by the IRS for CE credit. There is a potentially misleading message on the IRS PTIN website as follows (click on image to view larger size):
What this message means is that if you took an Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course, those credits are shown in the Tax Update category. EAs cannot take the AFTR course for credit, as it is intended for non-credentialed tax preparers only. We do mark this clearly (in red) on our website and have not had any EAs accidentally take this course.
If you did take the AFTR course, it would be marked with an asterisk (*) to indicate the credits did not count.
The AFTR course is part of a new program called the Annual Federal Tax Program (AFTP) the IRS initiated in 2014 to allow uncredentialed tax preparers to take CPE and be listed on the IRS website as a tax preparer with a "Record of Completion" of the AFTP.