Advantages to Earn the Annual Filing Season Program Training - Record of Completion

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The IRS encourages non-credentialed tax return preparers to sign up for the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP), a voluntary program, and take continuing education (CE) classes. They will have the choice to voluntarily demonstrate that they have completed basic tax preparation for the 1040 filing season and other relevant tax law training. The return preparers who successfully met the requirements for the AFSP are subsequently issued a Record of Completion, which they can present and is also helpful when joining the competitive job market.

Important Steps to Follow

You must complete the following four procedures if you're one of the non-credentialed tax return preparers who wants to join the Annual Filing Season Program to increase your professional competence:

  • Must be able to complete 12 CPE credits, consisting of 2 hours of ethics education and 10 hours of federal tax law topics.

  • The test and a 6-hour annual federal tax training course are prerequisites.

  • The return preparer is also required to renew the IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

  • Must consent to abide by the obligations outlined in Circular 230, Subpart B, and Section 10.51.

The Advantages of the Annual Filing Season Program - Record of Completion

Client Representation

Although tax clients frequently seek a professional's assistance with tax preparation because they are unsure how to finalize their own tax return, many also feel safe by the idea that their tax preparer will help them with any concerns that may later arise.

By taking part in AFSP, you will be granted limited representation privileges, which means you will be allowed to speak on behalf of your clients during any examinations of the returns you have prepared.

You will be unable to represent clients in front of the IRS without an AFSP Record of Completion.

Free Advertisement

After participating in the AFSP, your professional credentials and other vital certifications will be published in the IRS Federal Tax Return Preparers Directory. The IRS promotes the directory through a public awareness program encouraging people to search for tax preparers with established professional credentials.  It's a useful resource for clients seeking reliable, experienced preparers, and best of all, it's free advertising for you.

Increase Credential Exposure

As a certified preparer, you can promote yourself by adding "as seen on IRS.gov" or "AFSP - Record of Completion" to your tax designation.

IRS Certification

All AFSP participants who successfully complete the course will get a completion certificate from the IRS. It conveys to customers that you are knowledgeable about modifications to tax law and make an effort to adhere to IRS standards for tax preparers.

Differentiate Yourself

If you succeed in the program, you distinguish yourself from the competition and demonstrate that you are well-equipped to prepare tax returns for clients. Your professionalism is then even more evident. The AFSP - Record of Completion gives you an advantage over tax preparers who lack the certificate attesting to their diligence and current knowledge. You also get your name included in the IRS Directory.

Are You Exempted from the Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course?

A comprehension test will be required of tax return preparers who have passed one of the national or state exams listed below in order to exempt them from taking the AFTR.

  • Registered Tax Return Preparers (RTRP).

  • Programs for state-based return preparer testing in Oregon, California, and other states.

  • Tax Preparers who are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Accountants

  • Part 1 of the Special Enrollment Exam during a 2-year eligibility timeframe.

  • Successful VITA program reviewers and instructors.

If a Credentialed Tax Professional or someone who met the criteria to be exempt from the AFTR indicated above wishes to be eligible for the AFSP annually, they must take a 15-hour CE course from an IRS-approved provider. No CE credit will be awarded to Enrolled Agents who successfully complete an AFTR course.

The following are included in the previously mentioned 15 hours of CE:

  • 3 hours of Federal Tax Updates

  • 10 hrs of Federal Tax Law Topics

  • 2 hours of Ethics Education

Additional Important Info Regarding Annual Filing Season Program

AFSP Can Be Taken Twice a Year

Even though the general rule specifies that preparers shouldn't repeat a program during the same enrollment cycle if they're an enrolled agent, the preparer may retake the course within the year if they desire to brush up on their knowledge of the subject matter.

Restrictions on AFSP Eligibility

According to Revenue Procedure 2014-42, some individuals may be unable to partake in the Annual Filing Season Program. These individuals include those who are:

  • In accordance with Circular 230, banned, suspended, or ineligible to practice before the IRS,

  • Convicted offenders who have violated the public trust in financial or tax concerns or in any other way within the five years prior to the application date,

  • Preparing tax returns, representing clients before the IRS, and participating in other actions that may result in an injunction under section 7407 are all barred,

  • People with a history of submitting inaccurate or misleading information to the IRS while also breaching Circular 230.

  • Noncompliant with personal federal tax obligations.