Become an Annual Filing Season Program Participant

The IRS believes in a mandatory competency standard for federal tax return preparers. To this end, legislation continues to be the priority of the IRS. The Annual Filing Season Program recognizes the efforts of unenrolled return preparers who improve their professional competency through continuing education. Anyone with a PTIN can prepare a federal tax return. However, some preparers with a PTIN work to ready themselves for the filing season through educational efforts, The program differentiates these preparers from the rest of the marketplace.

What is the Annual Filing Season Program?

The Internal Revenue service developed the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). The program is intended to recognize and encourage unenrolled tax return preparers to voluntarily improve their competency. This is achieved by increasing knowledge through continuing education (CE). 

The program is important for a number of reasons. Unregulated preparers do not have to meet continuing professional education requirements. The program encourages these preparers to stay up to date on tax laws and changes. Also, it helps lessen the risk to taxpayers from preparers who have no education in federal tax law or filing requirements. Finally, it allows preparers without professional credentials to stand out from the competition.

Participants in the program will receive a Record of Completion from the Internal Revenue Service that they can show their clients. Displaying the record to prospective clients is a way to stand out in the marketplace. Furthermore, it serves to demonstrate that you have the tax knowledge and filing competency to provide quality service.

Benefits of Becoming a Annual Filing Season Program participant

There are basically two main benefits to becoming a participant:

  • Inclusion in the IRS’s Directory of Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. An individual looking for a return preparer, may use the directory to research tax return preparers Furthermore, it also identifies the type of credentials or qualifications held by a specific tax professional. The directory does not include all tax return preparers. In fact, the directory includes only tax preparers with a PTIN who hold a professional credential or who have obtained an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion from the IRS.
  • Representing clients before the IRS. Beginning in 2016, the representation rights of return preparers were changed. Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents will continue to be the only tax professionals with unlimited representation rights. PTIN holders, without a professional credential, will not be allowed to represent clients before the IRS. AFSP participants, however, can represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed. This includes representation before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

How to Receive your Record of Completion

To obtain an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion a return preparer must obtain 18 hours of continuing education from an IRS-approved CE Provider. The hours must include:

  • 6 hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher course and examination,
  • 2 hours of ethics, and
  • 10 hours of Federal tax topics per registration year.

PTIN Courses International is an IRS-approved CE Provider and offers all of these courses for a reasonable price of $10.00 per credit hour!! But hurry, you must complete your Continuing Education by December 31.

The return preparer must also renew their preparer tax identification number (PTIN) for the upcoming year and consent to adhere to the obligations in Circular 230, Subpart B and section 10.51.

After completion of these requirements, the return preparer receives an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion from the IRS.

To summarize, becoming an Annual Filing Season Program participant will allow you to prove that you are a qualified preparer. By completing the program, receiving your record of completion, and adding your name to the official IRS Directory you can show potential clients that you are qualified to prepare taxes.

And it’s easy. Click here to find out more about the Annual Filing Season Program.

Become an Annual Filing Season participant by taking our Annual Federal Tax Refresher course

Choose from our quality courses to become an annual filing season program participant
Our ethics course qualifies for the annual filing season program participant CE requirements.


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