Update February 6, 2013: This issue has been resolved.
With the tax filing season about to open, the IRS has shut down the online system for obtaining preparer tax identification numbers (“PTINs”). As we reported earlier, the decision in the Loving case, invalidating IRS regulations concerning registered tax return preparers, does not invalidate the requirement for tax return preparers (including attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents) to obtain PTINs and pay a user fee. Apparently the IRS hasn’t yet sorted out how to issue PTINs while the injunction barring the other regulations remains in effect. The IRS has posted this statement on its website:
The IRS is working diligently to resolve issues surrounding the issuance of Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) for the filing season. Additional information will be provided shortly as to how to obtain PTINs.