Friday, January 6, 2012

My PTIN Test Adventure

I took my PTIN test today.  For those that don't know, a PTIN is a Preparer's Tax Identification Number.
I am 60 years old, and until today, it has been 35 years since I took a test.  ( The last one was when I took my Enrolled Agent exam.)    I am sure this was the first time I have ever had to take a test on a computer.  So let me describe my adventure to you.   After preparing tax returns for the last 36 years,  one would hope that I knew what I was doing without the test.   Anyway, I digress.
First, I can’t tell you anything about what is on the test.   They made me pinkie-swear that I wouldn’t tell anyone including my therapist about the contents of the test.
I had to sign up and pay for the test a couple of weeks ahead of time.  Then I had to travel about 70 miles to the closest place (Asheville NC)  to take the test.  The folks there were nice enough, but boy, were they thorough.
I had to prove who I was.  I didn’t mind showing  a picture I.D.,  but the DNA test was a bit much (just kidding).   And I thought they were going to do a strip search.  Not really; but I did have to empty my pockets (no wallet, no watch, no paper, no keys, no pens, no nothing).  And I even got wand-ed with a metal detector (really).  And I was VIDEO TAPED while I took the test. 
Once I got to the computer terminal, I did spend some time going through the tutorial so that I knew how to operate inside their test software (this tutorial is available on-line if you have a PTIN).   For the test, I took all the time that the computer gave me.  I finished early, but I kept reviewing as many of my answers as I could until the time ran out.  ( I dislike making bad grades even more than I dislike taking tests – and I didn’t want to have to take this one again – especially since I had to pay to take it).
When I got done, I retrieved all the stuff that I had dumped out of my pockets, and then found out that I would get my grade within 60 days.  Seriously?   60 days?  This is a computerized test.  Surely it already knows how many I missed.
Then I drove the 70 miles back to my office.  Total time spent getting there, taking the test and getting home was a little over 6 hours.
And don’t worry, when I get my score, I WILL POST IT HERE.  No matter how good or bad it is, I am going to let you know how I did.
Until then…….   Many Happy Returns.

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