IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Explained

The Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) aims to recognize the efforts of non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism. Those who choose to participate can meet the requirements by following 4 steps:

  1. Complete 12 CPE credits: 2 Ethics; 10 Federal Tax Law.
  2. Complete 6 hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher course and test.
  3. Tax Talk Today DOES NOT provide the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course and test.
  4. The return preparer must also renew their IRS preparer tax identification number (PTIN) for the upcoming year.
  5. Consent to adhere to the obligations in Circular 230, Subpart B and section 10.51. (IRS website instructions)

The program is important for a number of reasons:
  • Annual Filing Season Program participants have limited representation rights, meaning they 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. PTIN holders without an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion or other professional credential will only be permitted to prepare tax returns. For returns prepared and signed after December 31, 2015, they will not be allowed to represent clients before the IRS.
  • It encourages unregulated return preparers who don't have to meet continuing professional education requirements to stay up to date on tax laws and changes.
  • It helps lessen the risk to taxpayers from preparers who have no education in federal tax law or filing requirements.
  • It allows preparers without professional credentials to stand out from the competition by giving them a recognizable record of completion that they can show to their clients.
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