IRS Contacts Tax Professionals Promoting Annual Filing Season Program
Washington D.C. – The Internal Revenue Service has begun contacting individual tax professionals that are PTIN holders to inform them about and promote the new annual filing season program (AFSP). The IRS is providing information regarding the AFSP program and encouraging non-exempt tax professionals to attain a certificate of completion in the program. Professionals who have active tax identification numbers have begun receiving emails from the IRS this week regarding the newly implemented program.
Tax professionals with a certificate of completion in the AFSP program will be included in the the IRS’s Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications that is being launched in January of 2015. This directory will be hosted on irs.gov and will contain the name, city, state, and zip code of participants in the AFSP program alongside attorneys, certified public accountants, and enrolled agents. The IRS has previously announced that it will launch a public education campaign in 2015 encouraging taxpayers to select return preparers carefully and seek those with professional credentials or other select qualifications such as participation in the AFSP and the directory appears to the a part of that effort.
In addition to the directory, participants in the program will be granted limited representation rights before IRS offices. This means they can represent clients before the IRS so long as they prepared and signed that client’s tax returns that are in question in the proceeding before the IRS. Attorneys, CPAs, and Enrolled Agents continue to have full representation rights for all clients before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees as has been the case previously. The AICPA has pursued litigation against the IRS challenging the validity of the program.
- The term “non-exempt tax preparers” generally refers to any tax preparer that is not otherwise credentialed as a C.P.A., Attorney or Enrolled Agent, but individuals who passed the now-defunct RTRP exam are also deemed to be exempt. For more information see IRS Releases Official Guidance on Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) by Blake Treu (FullerTax Blog, July 1, 2014).↵
- A certificate of completion may be attained by a non-exempt preparer by completing 11 hours of continuing education with an IRS-approved CE provider in 2014 that must include 3 hours of federal tax law, 2 hours of ethics, and the 6 hour 2015 Annual Filing Season Refresher Course. Exempt preparers may attain a certificate of completion for the program by completing 8 hours of continuing education constituting 3 hours of federal tax law, 2 hours of ethics, and 3 hours of updates courses. See How to Obtain the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Credential: A Guide for Tax Pros. Fuller Professional Education offers CE bundles for both Exempt and Non-Exempt preparers.↵
- See What are the benefits of getting an AFSP – Record of Completion? (Internal Revenue Service, last updated August 26, 2014)↵