IRS Tax Preparer Continuing Education

AFSP: Annual Filing Season Program


Federal Direct is a licensed IRS and state level approved Continuing Education Provider and presents real world tax education in webinar format that concludes with an interactive question and answer session covering the session topics. These certified tax preparation courses are presented by our in-house staff of IRS Enrolled Agents, CPAs, and Tax Attorneys who break down confusing topics into easy to understand plain English scenarios. All webinars are recorded and available for download and archive viewing approximately 24 – 48 hours following the live presentation. Most Continuing Education courses are available by both attending a live webinar or by watching an archived course and taking a short quiz to confirm your comprehension of the content presented.

All Federal Direct partners get discounted access to our extensive IRS and State level continuing education libraries as well as exclusive Federal Direct operational and software specific training courses. We make sure you are up to speed on all current tax preparation courses, topics, and IRS tax preparer requirements through our continually updated tax preparer CE library and live webinars.

The ever changing landscape of tax education and tax preparer requirements by the IRS over the past several tax seasons has just about everyone scratching their heads. Federal Direct is a licensed IRS continuing education provider and will make sure you and your office is not only in the know, but also in compliance for becoming and maintaining your standing as a credentialed tax preparer, Enrolled Agent, or state level regulated preparer.

Federal Direct offers a full range of tax training, tax software training, and continuing education for tax preparers from basic tax topics all the way to IRS tax preparation courses for becoming an Enrolled Agent.

Our Continuing Education Resource Library Covers:


General Tax Topics

  • Basic Tax Overview
  • Income Explained
  • Income Forms and Reporting
  • Filing Requirements and Statuses
  • Dependents
  • Recordkeeping
  • Deductions
  • Tax Credits
  • Self-Employment
  • Business Expenses
  • Vehicle Expenses
  • Retirement, Pensions, and Annuities
  • Passive Income
  • Rental and Royalty Income
  • Capital Gains, Asset Sales, and Stocks
  • Education
  • Taxes, Estimates, and Withholding
  • Capitalization
  • Finalizing the Return
  • Identity Theft – Identification and Resolution


Tax Law Updates

  • Tax Season Updates
  • Cares Act and ARPA



  • Digestible Circular 230
  • Practice before the IRS
  • Nuts and Bolts of Due Diligence

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Tax Preparer Requirements:


Q Do I have to take a test or exam to be a tax preparer?

A No. Shortly before the start of the 2013 tax filing season, the IRS lost their authority to require tax preparers to take and pass the test they were calling the Registered Return Preparer Exam. The IRS’s new program, called the AFSP (Annual Filing Season Program) is now in effect, but is voluntary. Even though this new program is optional there are some advantages for those preparers that choose to participate. If you choose to take and pass the AFSP you can be listed on the IRS’ website as an AFSP credentialed preparer and you will have the ability to speak with the IRS regarding tax returns you prepare during that period of accreditation. *Some individual states have their own requirements for tax preparers.  These state level regulations change regularly so be sure to always verify with your respective state department of taxation.


Q Am I required to complete Continuing Education?

A No. As a tax preparer, you are not required to complete continuing education at the Federal level. While many tax preparers choose to take continuing education for their own betterment and to keep up on changing tax laws, it is not a requirement for being a tax preparer. Enrolled Agents and CPAs DO have an annual continuing education requirement, as do tax preparers wanting to obtain the voluntary AFSP designation. *Some individual states have their own requirements for tax preparers.  These state level regulations change regularly so be sure to always verify with your respective state department of taxation.


Q Do different states have different requirements for being a tax preparer?

A Yes. California, Connecticut, Iowa, Oregon, New York, Nevada and Maryland all have individual state level requirements for tax preparers. Additionally, if you are a tax preparer that offers bank products to your tax clients several states have additional steps needed to be in compliance for offering these products. If you reside and are preparing tax returns in these states, please consult your local state department of taxation or a Federal Direct account representative for the most up to date requirements for your state.


Q Do I have to get a PTIN (preparer’s tax identification number)?

A Yes. All tax return preparers who are compensated for preparing or assisting in the preparation of any federal tax returns must possess a valid PTIN, and must renew that PTIN every year they intend to preparer tax returns.


Q What is the fee for obtaining a PTIN?

A Over the past few years the PTIN pricing has fluctuated considerably. Currently, the is the price to get a PTIN is $35.95 and the annual renewal is the same cost.


Q Is there an age requirement to obtain a PTIN?

A Yes. You must be 18 years of age to obtain a PTIN.  


Q Do I have to be a US Citizen to obtain a PTIN?

A You must have a social security number if you are going to be preparing returns within the United States. There is a waiver for this requirement for preparers physically located outside of the US.


Q Where can I get more information on getting an IRS issued PTIN?

A Federal Direct partners can always contact their account rep for more info and/or assistance with the PTIN registration process, or you can visit the IRS preparers PTIN website at:

As a Federal Direct partner you have access to discounted self-study tools and IRS tax prep courses for obtaining your Enrolled Agent certification or CPA. Testing materials are also available for the AFTR examination for completing the IRS’ Annual Filing Season Program. These materials are industry leading study tools that provide both traditional physical textbooks as well as online tools for taking practice exams and quizzes on your PC, tablet or smart phone. The tax preparation courses use “intelligent adaptive learning” technologies to sharpen your skills in the areas that you need focus on and prepares you in the most efficient way for taking and passing the Enrolled Agent S.E.E. Exams or the CPA Exams! These tax preparation courses are the same study materials that many of our in-house staff has used to better their tax knowledge and take and pass their associated EA and CPA exams. If you have questions on the content, delivery methods or study suggestions do not hesitate in giving us a call for more details. To purchase courses or training bundles you can contact us over the phone to get set up or feel free to click on the links below to get started today!


More info about AFSP Program >

Continuing Ed. & AFSP Pricing >

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