OK, so I went to renew my DEA number... maybe I let it go a little longer than I should have. (Are a lot of these posts starting with "OK"? A little anxiety there, maybe?)
In addition to wanting to know your state controlled substance number (in Massachusetts, the MCSR), they (now) need to know the expiration date of your state certificate.
The only problem: there is no expiration date printed on the MCSR certificate. The other only problem: when you search the web and get to the Mass DPH "FAQ" page, you are told that the certificates do not actually expire, they are "recalled" every few years at the pleasure of the Mass DPH.
Of course, that doesn't work on line at the DEA renewal site, so I printed the renewal form, filled in "N/A" under expiration date. No dice; no renewal. I called the DEA. They said to call the DPH. They (the DEA) seemed singularly uninterested in following up on this as a systemic issue.
I called the DPH. Your certificate does in fact live forever until it dies. The date on which it does not expire is three years from the issue date. They also seemed singularly uninterested in following up on this as a systemic issue, though I suggested that if they post this information on their FAQs they might get fewer calls from people like me.
The DEA web site accepted this date and renewed my certificate pretty much on the spot.
Bottom line: use three years from the MCSR's date of issue for its expiration date on the DEA registration site, and it should work.