TaxByte 2016-31 | Wondering About That PTIN Class Action Notice?

Some PTIN holders were concerned by an email notice they received October 7 (or over the weekend) regarding a class action purportedly filed on their behalf. The class notice, which was authorized by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, was sent to PTIN holders via email on October 7.

The notice alerts recipients that the court has certified a class to include anyone that paid a PTIN application or renewal fee on or after September 30, 2010 in a lawsuit seeking restitution for PTIN fees collected by IRS. 

The pending lawsuit, Steele v. United States, Case No. 1:14-cv-1523-RCL, alleges that Congress did not authorize IRS to collect PTIN application and/or renewal fees and that--even if such fees were authorized--the fees charged by IRS were excessive. PTIN applicants were charged $64.25 for their original applications and $63 for each renewal. Although the title of the email is Notice of Class Action Settement Concerning PTIN, there is no settlement in this lawsuit. The case is ongoing. Currently pending is a motion for partial summary judgment filed by the United States, asking the court to declare that it did have the authority to charge a fee in conjunction with issuing PTIN numbers.

As is typical with class action lawsuits, the notice informs recipients that if they meet the definition of the class, they are automatically included in the action and will be entitled to any relief obtained by the class representatives on behalf of the class. Conversely, any class member has the right to opt out or exclude himself or herself from the lawsuit. Such opt outs must be postmarked by December 7, 2016.

For more information about this lawsuit, PTIN holders can visit the website for the class action litigation.