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Autumn is here. Can tax season be far behind?

Answer: No.

When the leaves fall and the mercury drops, many CPAs find their thoughts turning to tax season, usually in a wake-me-when-it's-over sort of way. Don't get 'em wrong: Tax season pays the bills, and they love what they do, after all. But they don't call it “busy season” for nothing.

This year, reminders of tax season are coming earlier than usual. Consider:

  • The IRS has launched the 2012 PTIN renewal process: Thanks to the new Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) process, preparers are required to renew their ID numbers annually, and before the new year begins. “For example,” says the IRS, a preparer’s PTIN for 2012 must be renewed by Dec. 31, 2011.” In other words, the time is now, preparers. Renew your PTINs here.
  • CPAs are raising concerns about an IRS fingerprint plan: If you haven't heard, the IRS has hatched a plan to fingerprint non-CPAs who are required to obtain a PTIN … and the AICPA is concerned about it. Institute officials and CPAs from across the nation expressed those concerns at a recent IRS hearing. Many of those concerns centered on the added burden the requirement would place on small and mid-size CPA firms. Stay tuned.
  • Tax pros are urged to prepare for new e-file rules: This year, “any preparer or firm that reasonably anticipates preparing and filing 11 or more Form 1040 series returns, Form 1041 returns, or a combination of Form 1040 series returns and Form 1041 returns generally must use IRS e-file,” the IRS reports. To do that, they must firm obtain an Electronic Filing Identification Number, or EFIN — and now is the time to get those numbers because, as the IRS warns, “the approval process can take 45 days or more.” CPAs can review the process here.
  • EITC due diligence now a requirement: Beginning in 2012, the IRS “is issuing regulations that would require paid tax return preparers to file a due diligence checklist, Form 8867, with any federal return claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit.” The plan, according to the IRS, is to reduce the number of errors that occur on returns that claim the EITC. Find out more here.

It's shaping up as a busier busy season than usual. How are you planning to cope? Let us know by posting a comment, then check out these related programs:

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