Cork, Ireland

Tax preparers throughout the country are receiving notices about an ongoing class-action lawsuit that centers on IRS fees for Preparer Tax Identification Numbers, or PTINs.

The AICPA, however, is alerting its members that it is not involved in the lawsuit and is taking no position on the legal proceedings.

The lawsuit, Adam Steele, et al. v. United States, received class-action status earlier this year, but its roots reach back at least four years as part of an ongoing effort to reduce or eliminate the fees the IRS charges for the issuance or renewal of PTINs.

The initial fee for receiving a PTIN was $64.50, with renewal fees set at $63. The IRS began collecting those fees in late 2010. The renewal fee was reduced to $50 in late 2015.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim the IRS has no authority to charge such fees. Even if the IRS had such authority, plaintiffs say the fee is too high and are requesting that the IRS refund fees that have been already been paid.

Notices are now being sent to affected PTIN holders regarding the class-action status of the lawsuit. Those notices alert PTIN holders that they have two options:

  • Do nothing and remain in the lawsuit.
  • Exclude yourself from the lawsuit.

PTIN holders must decide which option they choose by Dec. 7, 2016.

While reminding members that it is not involved in the lawsuit, the AICPA notes that it “has consistently questioned the amounts and use of the fees that have been collected.”

“The AICPA continues to support improved ethical standards and enhanced compliance for paid preparers, and has long advocated for Congress to mandate that the IRS enact a testing and continuing education program to address the competency of unregulated, non-credentialed tax return preparers,” the AICPA states.

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