What is the Annual Filing Season Program?
The Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) is a voluntary curriculum for non-credentialed tax return preparers designed to help them demonstrate mastery of the profession. The IRS’ stated goal is to “recognize the efforts of non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism.”
How Do I Earn an AFSP Record of Completion?
AFSP participants are required to complete 18 hours of continuing education, which includes the six-hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course and exam, renewing their PTIN before the beginning of the next tax season, and abiding by the rules in Circular 230, Subpart B and section 10.51. Those who satisfy the continuing education goals and renew their PTIN will be issued an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion.
When Can I Take the AFTR Exam?
Prior to the start of the next filing season, approved continuing education providers generally offer the AFTR course and exam from June until December. The AFTR course and exam, PTIN renewal, and continuing education credits must be completed by December 31 to qualify for a record of completion.
REMEMBER: The PTIN renewal period doesn’t normally begin until October.
IMPORTANT: Certain preparers are exempt from the AFTR course and test requirements due to having met other competency requirements. This list includes Registered Tax Return Preparers (RTRPs), some state-based return preparer programs with testing requirements, EA applicants who passed Part I of SEE, some Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program reviewers and instructors with active PTINs, and other accredited tax-focused credential holders.
What Does Earning an AFSP Record of Completion Do for Me?
Those who earn the record of completion will be included in a searchable public database and can represent clients in front of IRS revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar employees. These limited representation rights are not equal to those enjoyed by attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents, but non-credentialed tax preparers without a record of completion cannot represent their clients before the IRS.
For more information about the AFSP, click here.
Following the District Court of D.C.’s ruling, the IRS cannot charge money for issuing and renewing PTINs. This means that you will not have to pay a fee when signing up for or renewing your PTIN this year. If there are any further developments related to PTIN fees, we will provide an update as soon as the information is available.