published Friday, December 27th, 2013

Business Briefs: Tax preparers require PTINs

Tax preparers require Preparer Tax Identification Numbers

Nearly half of the 12,000 Tennessee tax preparers who gained IRS certification last year to handle returns have yet to renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers for the 2014 filing season, the IRS said Thursday. The current tax ID numbers expire on Tuesday and more than 5,900 of tax preparers in Tennessee have yet to renew their annual IDs.

IRS spokesman Dan Boone said that anyone who prepares or helps prepare all or substantially all of a federal tax return, claim for refund or other federal forms for compensation must have a valid PTIN. Tax professionals can obtain or renew their PTIN at www.irs.gov/ptin.

Nationwide, there are about 700,000 tax preparers with 2013 PTINs and more than 400,000 have already renewed their PTIN, plus more than 25,000 have obtained a first-time PTIN for 2014.


Mortgage rates remain stable

Mortgage rates in the U.S. were little changed as lenders absorbed news that the Federal Reserve plans to taper bond purchases that have helped support the real estate market. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.48 percent this week, up from 4.47 percent, according to a statement today from Freddie Mac. The average 15-year rate climbed to 3.52 percent from 3.51 percent, the McLean, Virginia- based mortgage-finance company said.

The Federal Open Market Committee said on Dec. 18 that it will trim its monthly asset purchases starting in January, taking the first step toward unwinding the stimulus as the economy strengthens. Mortgage rates have climbed from near- record lows in May on speculation that the central bank would begin scaling back the program.

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