The IRS recently introduced a new program targeting tax preparers who are not Enrolled Agents or CPAs. This new designation is titled IRS Annual Filing Season Refresher Program. Upon completion of the program requirements tax preparers are granted a record of completion for public display and are labeled with this level of competency and professional suitability on the IRS’ website.
Tax Preparers wishing to obtain and be able to advertise this level of mastery must complete the following annual requirements:
18 hours of IRS Continuing Education in the following areas:
*These requirements are prorated only 3 additional hours of General Tax Topics for the coming tax season starting January 2015.
These requirements must be completed prior to December 31st 2014, to be considered qualifying for the AFS program and record of completion.
The AFTR Course:
The Annual Filing Tax Refresher Course covers 3 different areas:
Our IRS-approved AFTR course guides you through a detailed review of changes and seasonal updates in tax law that will affect your individual clients this coming January; common individual (1040) tax topics that have been identified by the IRS return preparer office as priorities for all tax preparers; as well as some of the basic ethical issues and filing procedures that are applicable to tax return preparers.
The AFTR Exam:
The Exam consists of 100 multiple-choice & True/False questions. The exam is delivered through our website and must be completed within a 3 hour time allotment. The exam is open book and will cover the material presented in all 3 chapters of the AFTR Course materials. Successful passing of the exam requires at least a 70% score, and multiple attempts are acceptable until the 70% passing grade is achieved. The Exam must be successfully completed prior to December 31st to qualify for the AFSR Course record of completion from the IRS.
The Record of Completion:
The Record of Completion will be delivered through the IRS’ PTIN website. Once a qualifying tax preparer renews their PTIN for the coming tax season they will receive a secure email from the IRS indicating that their document is available through the IRS PTIN account secure mailbox. There are no additional fees required for obtaining the record of completion, simple renewal of your PTIN (preparer’s tax identification number) is sufficient. The certificate covers practice for the entire year and expires December 31st of the calendar year.
Additional Guidelines and Qualifications:
Consent to Circular 230 restrictions
A requirement for receiving your record of completion will be consenting to the duties and restrictions relating to practice before the IRS in subpart B and section 10.51 of Treasury Department Circular No. 230.
Modification to limited practice permissions
Only tax return preparers who have a record of completion under the Annual Filing Season Program for the calendar year of preparation and the calendar year of representation will be permitted to represent taxpayers before the IRS during an examination of a return that they signed or prepared. Enrolled Agents, Attorneys, and CPAs continue to have unlimited representation rights and can represent clients before any office of the IRS and do not have to complete the Annual Filing Season Program.