Please take a moment to view the message for taxpayers on YouTube from our Commissioner, Chuck Rettig. In the video, he shares important tips for this year’s filing season, including choosing a trusted tax professional, reminding people to check their withholding, etc. At a recent meeting of the National Public Liaison in Washington DC, Commissioner Rettig spoke for an hour with the tax professional community regarding the process employed by the IRS during the recent government shutdown which included daily calls with the top executives of the IRS regarding staffing issues, community outreach and effect on the individual taxpayers. He asked that we all give the IRS staff the time they need to get caught up with their workload. The mail room handled over 5 million pieces of backlogged mail and an additional 700,000 pieces are being received daily. While the mail room clears their backlog, it is creating a tremendous workload burden on the departments to respond to the mail. There were over 2,000 new hires in training when the government shutdown. Then the weather in the Midwest also affected the level of service since the office staff could not get into work. The commissioner identified three classes of taxpayers creating additional work for the IRS staff which includes the English as a Second Language (ESL) taxpayer; the unrepresented taxpayer; and the lower income taxpayer. Carol Campbell, the Director of the Return Preparer Office (RPO), also spoke for a few minutes about the PTIN renewal process. Approximately 720,000 PTIN’s were renewed of which 70,000 were first time PTIN holders. Of the PTIN holders 39% have credentials and 61% were uncredentialed tax preparers. The EA enrollment process was stopped during the shutdown during which 14,000 renewal applications were received of which more than 3,000 were new applications. She stated that as long as the submission was filed timely the applications were automatically renewed until they were able to process the applications. Carol reminded tax preparers to check their PTIN account to verify the number of individual tax returns under their PTIN. She reminded the tax professionals that it will only show the number of returns if they prepared more than 50 tax individual tax returns (Form 1040) in a calendar year. If your account shows more returns than you filed then contact the Return Preparer Office.