#1 Is AFSP required for tax prep?

Many of our students have asked us if it is really necessary to get the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Record of Completion.  Questions answered about the AFSP program in this video:

  1. What are the requirements to prepare tax returns? 
  2. Is it mandatory to get the AFSP this year?
  3. Do all tax preparers need to get the AFSP?
  4. What are the advantages or benefits of being in the Annual Filing Season Program?
  5. Does the IRS have other requirements to be a tax preparer?

Would you rather read the transcript of the video than watch it?

Transcript of "Is the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) necessary if you want to prepare taxes."

->The question today is “Is the AFSP designation required in order to prepare taxes?" or phrased another way, "is it mandatory to be an AFSP to be able to do taxes?”

->Hi, I’m Carolyn Weaver with FunCPE, and this is AFSP Tip #1

->The quick answer is no and yes.

->No, the AFSP record of completion is not required to prepare taxes.  You only need a valid PTIN to prepare taxes. So it is not mandatory to participate in the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) record of completion.  You can still prepare tax returns even if you do not get the AFSP.

->There is no continuing education requirement to renew your PTIN. You simply login to the IRS PTIN system

  1. Verify your personal information
  2. Answer a few questions and
  3. pay the annual renewal fee.

->Yes, the AFSP is required in certain situations.  For returns for calendar year 2016 and later, you must have your AFSP record of completion in order to have limited representation rights before the IRS.

Certificate note:  Some people refer to the AFSP record of completion as the "AFSP certificate" or "AFSP Certification." This is not the correct terminology and IRS states that the AFSP is not considered a certificate or a certification. The record of completion provides evidence that the tax preparer completed the continuing education courses and achieved passing grades on all courses.

You do receive a printable record of completion from the IRS suitable for framing.

->Limited representation rights allow you to represent clients whose returns you prepared and signed before

->The AFSP is not required for certain professionals

Enrolled Agents, CPAs, and attorneys will continue to be the only tax professionals with unlimited representation rights. 

->Unlimited representation rights means these professionals can represent their clients on any matters including audits, payment/collection issues and appeals, as well as prepare and sign tax returns.

->To summarize, many people ask "Am I required to get the AFSP and also to do required CE courses?"

No, you do not need to obtain the AFSP credential in order to prepare taxes, and there is no required CE.  You do need a valid PTIN.

Yes, you will need the AFSP to represent your clients before the IRS starting with 2016 returns.

->Would YOU like to get your AFSP?

We’d love to see you on our website at funcpe.com.

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