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 to improve their professional competency through continuing education. Anyone with a PTIN can prepare a federal tax return, but for those preparers with a PTIN who also work to ready themselves for the filing season through educational efforts, the program affords them a level of differentiation from the rest of the marketplace.

The Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) is intended to recognize and encourage unenrolled tax return preparers who voluntarily increase their knowledge and improve their filing season competency through continuing education (CE).  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.

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

Becoming a Annual Filing Season Program participant offers you two main benefits:

  • Inclusion in the IRS’s Directory of Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications – this tool is used to research tax return preparers near the individual looking for a tax professional or to determine the type of credentials or qualifications held by a specific tax professional. All tax return preparers are not in this directory. This directory contains only those with a PTIN who hold a professional credential or have obtained an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion from the IRS.
  • Representing clients before the IRS – Beginning in 2016, there were changes to the representation rights of return preparers. Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents will continue to be the only tax professionals with unlimited representation rights. However, PTIN holders without an AFSP – Record of Completion or other professional credential will not be allowed to represent clients before the IRS. AFSP participants can represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

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.


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