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Fuller Professional Education, LLC is dedicated to educating individuals and professionals regarding tax matters. Fuller provides training, continuing education, exam preparation, and general information to tax professionals. We serve the general public by raising awareness with our tax blog and our products include continuing education courses specifically designed for tax professionals.

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Fuller Professional Education, LLC
Farmington, UT 84025
P: (801) 872-3518
Email: support@fulleredu.com

What is an Annual Filing Season Tax Refresher Course (AFTR)?
A Guide for Tax Professionals

An Annual Federal Tax Filing Season Refresher Course (an “AFTR Course”) is a special type of IRS Approved continuing education course designed specifically to be part of the Annual Filing Season Program's (“AFSP”) requirements, and is required to be taken by any non-exempt tax preparer, in addition to other requirements, in order for such tax professionals to obtain the AFSP credential each year.[1] Fuller Professional Education will be providing an IRS Approved AFTR Course each year. An AFTR Course is a 6.0 credit hour course, the content of which is provided by guidance from the IRS each year. The IRS each year chooses tax topics for the AFTR course based on what they have determined need to be covered: such topics could be new tax concepts arising from changes in the law, or traditional tax topics where the IRS finds tax preparers are commonly making mistakes in preparing tax returns. Do you have questions regarding AFTR Courses? E-mail us with your questions at support@fulleredu.com.

Elements of an AFTR Course

The two basic elements of an AFTR Course are 6.0 credits of instruction and a 100-question comprehension test that is administered through the AFTR Course. The 6.0 credits of instruction material covered in an AFTR Course is separated into three domains, and the topics in each domain will change each year depending on the IRS’s specifications. The three domains cover “General Review” topics, “New Tax Law/Recent Updates” topics, and “Ethics, Practices and Procedures” topics. The IRS plans to release the list of topics within each domain to IRS Approved Providers each year after the April tax filing season. IRS Approved Providers will then be able to provide AFTR Courses to tax professionals who wish to obtain or renew their AFSP credential beginning on June 1st each year.

Topics Covered in an AFTR Course

As stated, the IRS requires that an AFTR Course cover all the topics in the list they distribute to IRS Approved Providers each year. For example, the topics to be covered in a 2014 AFTR Course are as follows:

AFTR Course Topics Outline (for 2015 Filing Season)

Domain 1: New Tax Law/Recent Updates Topics **
  1. Annual Inflation Adjustments (e.g. filing requirement threshold amounts, personal exemption amounts, standard deduction amounts, etc.)
  2. Additional Medicare Tax
  3. Net Investment Income Tax
  4. Same Gender Marriage Filing Status
  5. Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit
  6. Individually Shared Responsibility Payment (ACA)
  7. Tax Due Dates and Extensions
Domain 2: General Review Topics
  1. Determining Taxpayers' Filing Status
  2. Best Practices for Ensuring Use of Correct Names and Social Security Numbers of all Taxpayers and Dependents
  3. Rules For Claiming Dependents
  4. Taxability of Wages, Salaries, Tips, and Other Forms of Earnings
  5. Interest Income Concepts (Taxable and Non-Taxable)
  6. Dividend Income Rules
  7. Taxable Refunds, Credits, or Offsets of State and Local Taxes
  8. Self-Employment Income and Expenses Concepts
  9. Reporting and Taxability of Social Security Benefits
  10. Taxability of Distributions from IRAs, Pensions, and Annuities
  11. Rules for Capital Gains and Losses
  12. Pre-AGI Deductions (Deductible Portions of Self-Employment Tax, Student Loan Interest Deductions, Tuition and Fees Deductions)
  13. Rules for Claiming the Proper Standard Deduction
  14. Itemized Deductions on Schedule A (State and Local Taxes; Real Estate Taxes; Mortgage Interest; Charitable Contributions)
  15. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Qualifications and Rules
  16. Child Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit
  17. Child and Dependent Care Credit
  18. Education Credits (American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit)
  19. Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax Payment Rules and Concepts
  20. Payment and Refund Options and Concepts
Domain 3: Ethics, Practices and Procedures Topics
  1. Penalties Assessed by the IRS against Tax Preparers for "Negligent or Intentional Disregard of Rules and Regulations" and for "Willful Understatement of Tax Liability" under IRC §6694(a)-(b)
  2. Prohibition on Negotiations of Client Refund Checks under IRC §6695(f)
  3. Due Diligence Requirements with Respect to taking the Earned Income Credit using Form 8867 "Paid Preparer's Earned Income Credit Checklist", including Related Penalties for Due Diligence Failures under IRC §6695(g).
  4. Requirement to Furnish Taxpayer With Copy of Tax Returns Filed, including Related Penalties under IRC §6695(a).
  5. Requirments to Retain Copies of Tax Returns, including Related Penalties under IRC §6695(d).
  6. Compliance with IRS e-file Rules and Procedures
  7. Requirements for Signing Tax Returns Professionally Prepared, including Related Penalties for Failure to do so under IRC §6695(b)
  8. Requirements to Furnish Identifying Number (PTIN) as Return Preparer on Tax Return, including Penalties for Failure to do so under IRC §6695(c)

** The IRS gives IRS Approved Providers the option to include additional materials in the New Tax Law/Recent Updates domain that are enacted after the IRS releases its outline each year.

How does an AFTR Course Comprehension Test Work?

Based on specifications given by the IRS, the required 100-question comprehension test is administered through the provider the tax professional uses to take the AFTR Course. The comprehension test may be delivered in the same manner as the instruction of the AFTR Course. For example, Fuller Professional Education’s AFTR Course and comprehension test are both delivered online through the user’s web browser. The test is also timed: tax professionals taking the comprehension test at the end of an AFTR Course can be given a maximum of 3 hours to complete the 100-question test. The questions in the comprehension test can consist of a combination of multiple choice and true/false questions. The minimum passing score for the comprehension test is 70%. All the questions on the comprehension test must be based on the material covered in the AFTR Course, except that the inflationary adjustments from Domain 1 (discussed above) are not required to be tested as part of the comprehension test.

Once a tax professional completes the AFTR Course instruction materials and successfully passes the comprehension test, the IRS Approve Provider uses the tax professional’s PTIN number to upload confirmation of completing the requirement to the IRS. Once the tax professional has completed all the requirements for obtaining the AFSP credential, the tax professional will officially be an AFSP and will be able to download and/or print a certificate of their new designation from their PTIN online user account.

   Notes for this Article

[1] - Exempt tax professionals are not required to take an AFTR Course in order to obtain the AFSP tax designation. For more information on who qualifies as an exempt tax professional, see Obtaining an Annual Filing Season Program.

[2] - In Fuller Professional Education’s AFTR Course, both the instruction material and comprehension test are delivered and administered online through your web browser.

Why Choose Fuller for Continuing Education?

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In-Depth Coverage

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