Tax return preparers have sued the United States alleging that they have been wrongfully required to pay PTIN fees set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2010 at $64.25 and $63, and in November 2015 at $50.
The Court has allowed the lawsuit to be a class action on behalf of all individuals or entities that paid a fee for the application for or renewal of a PTIN on or after September 30, 2010.
On June 1, 2017, the District Court granted the Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment in part, ruling that the IRS may continue to require PTINs, but may not charge fees for the issuance or renewal of PTINs. It also enjoined the IRS from charging those fees in the future, and ordered the government to refund all PTIN fees paid to date. The United States filed a notice of appeal on September 6, 2017, and has moved to stay the Court's injunction and refund orders. Therefore, no money has been recovered yet. The Court's Opinion, Order, and Final Judgment can be found in Case Documents.
The government filed a notice of appeal on September 6, 2017, and moved to stay the injunction entered by the District Court so that it could continue to collect PTIN fees while its appeal is pending. The District Court denied that motion on December 18, 2017, which means that the IRS cannot collect PTIN fees while the government’s appeal is pending. The Court’s Opinion denying the motion for a stay can be found in Case Documents.
On March 1, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the government, vacating the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs. The D.C. Circuit also remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings, “including an assessment of whether the amount of the PTIN fee unreasonably exceeds the costs to the IRS to issue and maintain PTINs.” The Court’s Opinion and Judgement can be found in Case Documents.
No money has been recovered, and the case is ongoing.
If you are a Class Member who obtained your PTIN after August 20, 2016, you have a choice to make now.
OPTION 1: Do nothing. Stay in the lawsuit. If you do nothing, you are choosing to stay in the Class. You will be legally bound by all court orders and judgments in this case, and you won’t be able to sue the United States for the claims made in this lawsuit. If money or benefits are obtained, you will be able to obtain a share. There is no guarantee that the lawsuit will be successful.
OPTION 2. Exclude yourself from the lawsuit. Alternatively, you have the right to not be part of this lawsuit by excluding yourself or “opting out” of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you cannot get any money from this lawsuit if any is obtained, but you will keep your right to separately sue the United States over the legal issues in this case. If you do not wish to stay in the Class, you must send a letter postmarked by April 13, 2018, to the address below, saying that you want to be excluded from Steele v. United States, Case No. 1:14-cv-01523-RCL. You must include your name, address, telephone number, email address, and signature. If you choose this option, you should talk to a lawyer soon because your claims may be subject to a statute of limitations which sets a deadline for filing the lawsuit within a certain period of time.
PTIN Fees Class Action Administrator
P.O. Box 404024
Louisville, KY 40233-4024
If you are a Class Member who obtained your PTIN on or before August 20, 2016, you should have received notice previously, and your opportunity to exclude yourself from the Class expired on December 7, 2016.