Issue Number: IR-2015-22
Inside This Issue
IRS Launches Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers;
Online Tool Offers New Option to Help Taxpayers
WASHINGTON—The Internal Revenue Service today announced the launch of a new, online
public directory of tax return preparers. This searchable directory on IRS.gov will help taxpayers
find a tax professional with credentials and select qualifications to help them prepare their tax
“This new directory will be a practical tool for the millions of Americans who rely on the
services of a paid return preparer,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers can also
look to these tax professionals for help if they have questions about the new health care
provisions on this year’s tax forms.”
The directory is a searchable, sortable listing featuring: the name, city, state and zip code of
attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents and those who have completed the requirements for the
voluntary IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). All preparers listed also have valid 2015
Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN).
Taxpayers may search the directory using the preferred credentials or qualifications they seek in
a preparer, or by a preparer’s location, including professionals who practice abroad. Tax return
preparers with PTINs who are not attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents or AFSP participants are not
included in the directory, nor are volunteer tax return preparers who offer free services.
The directory can also be a resource for taxpayers who may want to get help from tax
professionals on the Affordable Care Act tax provisions that affect returns filed this year.
The vast majority of people will only have to check a box on their federal income tax returns to
indicate they had health coverage. Others may have Marketplace coverage with tax credits, have
exemptions or need them, or may have to make a payment because they could afford to buy
health insurance but chose not to.
The IRS provides extensive information on IRS.gov/aca to help taxpayers better understand the
details of the new health care law. Many tax professionals, including those listed on the new
directory, will be able to help taxpayers understand these changes.
More than 140 million individual tax returns were filed last year, and more than half of them
were prepared with the help of a paid return preparer. To help taxpayers navigate the different
types of professional tax help available, last December, the IRS unveiled IRS.gov/chooseataxpro,
a page that explains the different categories of professionals. Taxpayers can also use a new
partner page available on IRS.gov that provides links to the web sites of national non-profit tax
professional groups, which can help provide additional information for taxpayers seeking the
right type of qualified help.
The IRS also offers free tax return preparation for eligible taxpayers. But whether using a paid
tax professional, relying on the help of a volunteer or preparing their own returns, taxpayers
should consider preparing and filing their returns electronically. Electronic filing is the easiest
way to file a complete and accurate tax return. There are a variety of electronic filing options,
including IRS Free File for qualified taxpayers, commercial software and professional assistance.
In 2010, the IRS launched the Tax Return Preparer Initiative that generally requires anyone who
prepares federal tax returns for compensation to obtain a PTIN from the IRS. As of the start of
the filing season, more than 666,000 tax return preparers have active PTINs for 2015. Currently,
anyone with a valid PTIN can prepare federal tax returns for compensation. At a minimum,
taxpayers should make sure their tax preparer has a valid PTIN and includes it on the tax return.