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#2 Cost of the AFSP?

We get questions about what is the total cost of the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Record of Completion for Tax Preparers, and also asking "is it worth it?"

Note:  after the video was made, the IRS changed the cost of getting or renewing a PTIN to $35.95 (as of 07/15/20).  

Look for answers to these questions in this video:

  1. How much does it cost to be an AFSP?
  2. Are these any hidden or extra costs?
  3. Is there an annual renewal fee to maintain the AFSP each year?
  4. Is there a separate IRS charge to be listed in the IRS database of tax preparers?
  5. Is there free or cheap CPE available to use for the AFSP program?

Watch this short video to get all the cost information, and a quick analysis of the value of the AFSP.

Rather read the transcript than watch the video?

Here is the transcript of the video about "How much do you pay to get the AFSP program certificate?"

-> The question today is "How much does the AFSP cost?" or "How much do I pay to become an AFSP?"

-> Hi, I’m Carolyn Weaver with FunCPE, and this is AFSP tip #2

-> There are 3 parts to the AFSP cost.

  • The cost to obtain the required Preparer Tax ID Number or PTIN. 
  • The cost to join the IRS program and
  • The cost of the continuing professional education or “CPE” courses needed to qualify for the program.

-> Cost # 1-- (Updated) The annual cost of the PTIN is now $35.95 as of July 2020.  The PTIN is obtained or renewed at the IRS website.

  • You must have a valid PTIN to take your CPE courses. 
  • Then you must renew your PTIN for the following year in order to obtain the record of completion.  This means you must have a PTIN for two years, the year you take your courses, and the following year for tax season.

-> Cost # 2--Surprisingly , there is no cost to obtain the AFSP record of completion. Zero, zip, zilch.

-> Cost # 3 - At FunCPE.com, for the 2020 AFSP, the courses for exempt preparers total $79 and for nonexempt preparers the cost is $100.

-> Who is exempt versus nonexempt?

If you are exempt, you can skip the 6 hour AFTR course, but must take a 3 hour tax update course.

If you are non-exempt, you must take the 6 hour AFTR course.  

Both exempt and non-exempt preparers must take the 2 hour ethics course and 10 hours of any Federal Tax courses.

We have packages for exempt and non-exempt to make it easy to get the right number of CE hours.

-> Am I exempt?

If you are not sure about your classification, review the list of tax preparer qualifications that make you Exempt.

-> The types of CPE accepted by the IRS are

  1. self-study and online courses,
  2. live webinars and
  3. live seminars.

-> How to find free CPE courses for AFSP requirements

If you are looking for free CPE courses, check the IRS Sponsored Continuing Education Programs website for periodic free live webinars.  The IRS does not provide CPE for their pre-recorded webinars from past presentations, so you must watch a live webinar presentation for credit. 

Also check with tax software companies who often give free live seminars. 

Some companies advertise free tax training, but verify if IRS Approved CPE credit is provided along with the training.

In all cases, the CPE provider must be registered with the IRS and the courses must be pre-approved by the IRS in order for you to receive credit.  You must receive a certificate of completion listing the approved IRS course number.

-> To summarize the cost of getting your AFSP record of completion:

PTIN (as of July 2020)  $  35.95
FunCPE courses--nonexempt preparers  $100.00
Total cost    $135.95


-> The cost of the AFSP CPE alone will be $100.  This is equivalent to the cost of 20 double whoppers with cheese, or about 1.67 whoppers per month.

-> But is getting the AFSP a cost or benefit?

If you get one new customer as a result of having your AFSP credential and being on the IRS website listing, and that customer comes back every year for 10 years, that’s worth $500 or more. 

-> Would YOU like to get your AFSP?

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

And we take the low stress approach:

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

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

Yes we report your CE hours to the IRS We do report your CE hours earned to the IRS electronically.  We are an approved IRS CPE provider for Enrolled Agents and Tax Preparers.

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Which courses should I take for AFSP CPE?

As per the rules outlined by the IRS, qualifying Annual Filing Season Program CPE must be in the areas of:

  • Federal Tax Law (all AFSP)
  • Ethics (all AFSP)
  • Tax Law Update (exempt)
  • Annual Federal Tax Refresher/AFTR (non-exempt) This course only available June 1 to December 31 each year.

All FunCPE  tax courses qualify for AFSP Federal Tax Law CPE. Our ethics courses qualify for all required AFSP ethics CE.  *BUT* there are specific tax course requirements depending on whether you are Exempt or Non-Exempt.

You can:

Sign up for a tax package which includes ethics:

~ or ~

Select your individual courses using the Exempt or Non-Exempt requirements:

FunCPE exams are available online 24/7 to help you meet your CPE requirements on time. 

The Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) 6 hour course is only available June 1 to December 31 of each year, in accordance with IRS requirements.  All courses must be completed by December 31st in order to receive the AFSP designation.