The IRS's only education program targeting the annual comprehensive training of tax preparers just got updated for the coming tax season! New tax law topics and information have been rolled into this comprehensive 18 credit program that focuses on general tax preparers who do not have higher credentials such as Enrolled Agents, CPAs, and Attorneys.
- The AFTR Course
The Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course covers 3 different areas:
- Tax Season Updates
- General Tax Topics
Our IRS-approved AFSP 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 which 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 questions with no evulative feedback. The exam is delivered through our website and must be completed within a three (3) hour time allotment. The exam is open book and will cover the material presented in all three 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 AFSP Course record of completion from the IRS.
- Are You Exempt from the AFTR Exam?
Exempt Preparers include:
- Anyone who passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer test administered by the IRS from November of 2011 to January of 2013.
- Preparers with active registration through state-level preparer registration programs (Oregon LTCs and LTPs, active
CTEC registrants in California, and registered preparers in Maryland under the state's MITP program).
- Credential holders from the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation's ABA and ATP programs.
- Preparers who have passed Part 1 of the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) for Enrolled Agents within the prior two (2) years.
- VITA volunteers who are quality reviewers and instructors with active PTINs
Exempt preparers do not have a requirement to obtain the six (6) credits from the AFTR course and examination. Instead, they must maintain fifteen (15) annual continuing education hours in the following topics:
- Ten (10) hours general federal tax law topics.
- Two (2) hours of ethics.
- Three (3) hours of federal tax law updates.
- 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 display document is available through the IRS PTIN account secure mailbox. There are no additional fees required for obtaining this record of completion, simple renewal of your PTIN (preparer's tax identification number) is sufficient. The document covers practice for the entire year and expires December 31st of the tax year.
- Additional Guidelines and Qualifications
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. This step is not done by the CE provider but instead by the preparer themselves. It is the most frequently missed part of the process and requires the active involvement of the preparer through their PTIN account.
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.