Wednesday, February 06, 2013

IRS PTIN System Online Again

The IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) system was restored online effective February 2, 2013.  It had been "down" after January 18, 2013, due to litigation in federal court.  See: PA EE&F Law Blog posting IRS PTIN Registration System is "Down" (01/28/13).

According to an online notice updated by the IRS on February 4, 2013, upon request of the IRS, the legal stay was narrowed to permit continued operation of the system to register paid tax preparers.
On Friday, Feb. 1, the court modified its order to clarify that the order does not affect the requirement for all paid tax return preparers to obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). Consistent with this modification, the IRS has reopened the online PTIN system.

The IRS continues to have confidence in the scope of its authority to administer this program and is working with the Department of Justice to address all options, including a planned appeal.

Please continue to check this site for additional information as it becomes available.
For a concise history of the conflict over the IRS PTIN system, which remains ongoing, see: Court Upholds Injunction; IRS Revives PTIN System, by Terri Eyden, posted on Accounting Web (02/06/13).

Monday, February 04, 2013

New Postings of PA OC & R/W Forms Online

While seeking to access Pennsylvania Orphans' Court forms through this Blog's sidebar links to their source on the Internet, I discovered my links are no longer valid.  What happened?  Something changed.

On January 31, 2013, the website of the Uniform Judicial System of Pennsylvania was completely refreshed and reformatted.  Not only is there a new homepage for the PA UJS, there is also a new "portal" leading into it.

Those Orphans' Court forms were reposted to different Internet references.  Now, these forms are displayed in a more pleasant presentation, along with other content formerly on that website.

On the related new PA UJS Portal, the layout is straightforward and efficient.  The left column offers many direct links to various sections of the new website, much like a book index, thereby avoiding navigation delays.  Such links include:
The main PA UJS website is more colorful and animated.  "Welcome to the Pennsylvania Judiciary's New Website" presently is displayed upon opening its home page:
Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System was the second state court system—by one week—to launch a website in 1995. With nearly 60 million hits last year, Pennsylvanians have come to depend on for information about the judiciary, court cases and the most recent court news and statistics.
The UJS is dedicated to continuously improving the way we provide information about the courts. Our goal was to develop something that is easy to use, attractive in appearance and capable of serving our vastly diverse audience. We want to keep you up-to-date regarding events in the judiciary and news and issues, and this space will allow us to do that. 
In a Press Release entitled Redesigned courts website helps meet changing user expectations, dated January 31, 2013, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts announced the redesigned website:
Enhancements to the new website include redesigned page layouts, improved navigation and organization of various court information areas, and highlighted news of interest to the court community and general public. * * *
The changes provide Pennsylvania’s judiciary a unified website while providing each court the opportunity to feature its own news and information on separate web pages. * * *
Among the radical changes to the PA UJS website is a redesigned home page, offering recent news involving Pennsylvania's Court System.  On the right sidebar are links for the Court's welcome message, Opinions, Docket Sheets, Fee or Fine Payments, Public Records, and Forms.

In an expansive area below is a listing, with links, to components of the Court System, by function and organization, like a "mini-portal".  This lower banner appears consistently on every web page, so you can't get lost.

A link to the Orphans' Court and Register of Wills forms is prominently featured as the first category in the full list of all types of court forms provided "For the Public".

The current approved OC/RW forms, which remain unchanged so far in 2013, are then divided into categories:
  • Audit and Administration (7 forms)
  • Guardianship (6 forms)
  • Abortion Control Act (2 forms)
  • Register of Wills (10 forms)
  • Model Account Forms (4 forms)
  • Foreign Adoption Forms (9 forms)
My random sampling of forms indicates that most are in fillable PDF format.  This allows data entry into the form, which could be saved using PDF editing software to retain it for later revision.  PDF reader or viewer software could only print the form with data, but not save it, so that, upon closing it online, such personalized data would be lost. See: Wikipedia's List of PDF Software.

These website revisions mean greater convenience for the public and for practitioners.  

But it creates work for me.  I must go back -- once again -- and reset links in my Blog to those forms' new online references.

“This is a new year. A new beginning.
And things will change.”
Taylor Swift
(popular singer, born December 13, 1989,
in Wyomissing, Berks County, PA)