Although the IRS has positioned the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) as a voluntary program for tax preparers, the IRS is implementing limits to representation rights for un-enrolled tax preparers who do not participate in the program. While anyone with a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) can continue to prepare tax returns for compensation, a PTIN-only preparer will not have representation rights after calendar year 2015.
Limited representation rights for non-AFSP participants
Beginning January 1, 2016--changes to representation rights
If you have a PTIN and AFSP
Tax preparers with a PTIN will have limited representation rights before limited offices of the IRS with respect to clients whose return they prepared and sign January1, 2016 or later.
AFSP record of completion participants can represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before:
- revenue agents,
- customer service representatives,
- the Taxpayer Advocate Service
- and similar IRS employees.
If you have a PTIN, but not AFSP
Beginning in 2016 only AFSP participants who obtain a Record of Completion will have those limited representation rights before the IRS for clients whose returns they prepared and signed. PTIN holders without an AFSP - Record of Completion or without other professional credentials will not be able to represent clients before the IRS in any matters and will only be permitted to prepare tax returns.
The new rules limiting representation rights apply to both 1040 and non-1040 preparers. All preparers will need an AFSP Record of Completion for returns completed after December 31, 2015 to engage in limited practice.
Unlimited representation rights
Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents will continue to be the only tax professionals with unlimited representation rights, meaning they can represent their clients on any matters including audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals.