IRS Annual Filing Season Program

IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Course

Do you want to be included in the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers?
Do you want to offer your clients representation before selected IRS representatives?

The AFSP aims to recognize the efforts of tax return preparers who wish to demonstrate a higher level of professionalism through a commitment to continuing education.

Tax return preparers who complete the required training:

Are listed in the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications— a significant business advantage!
Qualify to represent their clients before selected IRS representatives.
Receive the IRS Annual Filing Season Program–Record of Completion certificate for display in home or business office.

How do I qualify?

Non-exempt preparers complete the AFTR course (6 credit hours).

Exempt preparers complete their 3-credit-hour course.

Are you an exempt preparer?

All preparers complete the following courses:

Federal Tax Topics CPE (10 credit hours) Includes course, self-practice quiz, and exam Ethics CPE (2 credit hours) Includes study guide and exam

The IRS Annual Filing Season Program aims to recognize the efforts of return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism. Those who choose to participate can meet the requirements by obtaining 18 hours of continuing education, including a six hour federal tax law refresher course with test. Upon completion of the requirements, the return preparer receives an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion from the IRS.

How Do You Get an AFSP – Record of Completion?
• Complete an Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course (unless exempt – see below).
• Earn specified continuing education (CE) credits – see below
• Obtain or renew a PTIN

Continuing Education Requirements
In general, non-exempt return preparers with a valid PTIN for the program year will need to complete 18 hours of CE annually from IRS-approved CE providers to obtain an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion.

Non-Exempt – 18 Total CE Hours
> 6 CE Hours – AFTR Course and Test
> 10 CE Hours – Federal Tax Law
> 2 CE Hours – Ethics

Exempt – 15 Total CE Hours
> 3 CE Hours – Tax Law Updates
> 10 CE Hours – Federal Tax Law
> 2 CE Hours – Ethics

Who Is Exempt From the AFTR Course Requirements?

  • RTRPs who passed the – now discontinued – Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) test.
  • Participants in state-based return preparer programs such as the California Tax Education Council, Oregon Board of Tax Practitioner, or Maryland State Board of Individual Tax Preparers.
  • Tax practitioners who have passed the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE) Part I within the past two years.
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program reviewers and instructors.
  • Tax practitioners who have passed the Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor (ABA) exam or the ATP exam offered by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation.
  • CPAs, Attorneys, Enrolled Agents, and Enrolled Actuaries

Note: No CE credit will be given to Enrolled Agents for completing the AFTR course.

What are the benefits?
Inclusion in the public database on the IRS website.
AFSP participants will be included in the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications public database on the IRS website. The IRS intends to launch a public education campaign in 2015 encouraging taxpayers to select return preparers carefully and seek those with professional credentials or other select qualifications.

Represent Your Clients!
Beginning in 2016, only those categories listed in the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications will have the right to represent clients before the IRS. This includes returns the tax practitioner prepared. Non-credential tax preparers with an AFSP-Record of Completion will have limited representation rights. Attorneys, CPAs, and Enrolled Agents will continue to have full representation rights and can represent clients before any office of the IRS.

PTIN holders without an AFSP – Record of Completion or other professional credential will only be permitted to prepare tax returns. They will not be allowed to represent clients before the IRS.

Limitations apply

Non-exempt AFSP participants may represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, in front of revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

Limitations apply

Non-exempt AFSP participants may represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, in front of revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.