#1 Is AFSP required for tax prep?

Many of our students have asked us, is it really necessary to get the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Record of Completion.  The short answer, is no, the AFSP is not required, it is an optional IRS program for tax preparers.

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?

Updates to information in this video

As of 10/01/23 the PTIN renewal fee is $19.75. The video states that there is no fee, but naturally that couldn’t last forever!

Important deadline for AFSP Record of Completion

The IRS requires CE sponsors to offer the AFTR course in the second half of the year so that tax preparers receive updated training.

As a result, our AFSP Tax Packages are available on our site from June 1st to December 31st.

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All courses must be completed by December 31st

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AFSP Tax CE Packages

AFSP-Exempt Tax Package #5

AFSP-Non-exempt Tax Package #6

View AFSP Tax Packages

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, if any (currently there is no PTIN renewal fee). *Update: as of 10/01/23 the fee is $19.75*

->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

  • revenue agents,
  • customer service representatives,
  • Taxpayer Advocates
  • and similar employees

->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 have you try our courses!

And we take the low stress approach:

  • Easy course system
  • Unlimited free retakes* and
  • Live telephone support

*Except Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) limited to 4 attempts per IRS regulations

So — preview our courses-and put some FUN in your CPE!

FunCPE has been an IRS Approved CE Provider since 2001


Approved IRS CE provider for EA and AFSP

How to pass the
Annual Federal Tax Refresher course

How to pass the Annual Federal Tax Refresher strategies

Get the strategies here!


How to get the
AFSP Record of Completion

Follow our 4 step process