New IRS AFSP Program
by Platinum Professional Services - Tuesday, 9 September 2014, 04:23 PM
The Internal Revenue Service just announced on Friday, the New Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). Once the tax preparer has met the requirements for the AFSC (renewed their PTIN, taken appropriate amount of continuing education, completed and passed the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course/test if required), the IRS will then list AFSP tax preparers in their public database including the tax preparer's credentials. There will be no cost to the preparer for the AFSP certificate.

The Annual Filing Season Program is available each year from June 1 - December 31st and each year thereafter. To be IRS Qualified you will need to complete 18 credit hours (prorated to 11 hours for the 2015 tax season) which would need to include 6 hours of an Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course with a knowledge based comprehension test, 10 hours of Federal tax law topics (prorated to 3 hours for the 2015 tax season) and 2 hours of Ethics. The program is directed to preparers who are not attorneys, CPAs or enrolled agents. Tax return preparers who have successfully completed one of the following national or state tests would be exempt from taking the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course with a comprehension test:
- Registered Tax Return Preparers
- Oregon/California and other state based return preparer testing programs
- Accredited Tax preparer test offered by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy/Taxation
- Part 1 of the Special Enrollment Exam during the 2 year eligibility window
- Successful Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program reviewers an instructor

If a credentialed tax professional (CPA, attorney, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, enrolled actuary) or the exempt group listed above wants to receive an Annual Filing Season record of completion, he/she must have 15 hours of continuing education (prorated to 8 hours for the 2015 tax season) from an IRS approved provider. The 15 credit hours will need to include 3 hours of Federal tax updates, 10 Hours of Federal tax law topics (prorated to 3 hours for the 2015 tax season), and 2 hours of Ethics. No CE credit will be given to Enrolled Agents for completing an AFTR course. For California and Oregon Tax Preparers our courses meets both CTEC/Oregon and IRS requirements.

Please note: For the 2014 year, any continuing education taken between January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014 will count as CE credit hours for the AFSP. Platinum also offers a separate Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course for tax preparers who have already taken the appropriate amount of continuing education but only need the AFTR.