#3 What is the AFSP program?

Wondering what the term “AFSP” means? Watch the video to get a quick overview describing what the IRS Annual Federal Filing Season Program or “AFSP” is.

This video answers the typical questions about the IRS AFSP program:


  1. What is the AFSP?
  2. Why did the IRS create the Annual Filing Season Program?
  3. Is the AFSP a replacement for the discontinued Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) program?
  4. When did the AFSP start?
  5. Will I get a certificate if I complete the AFSP requirements?
  6. Is the AFSP voluntary or required?
  7. What are the deadlines for the AFSP CE courses?
  8. What are the CE course requirements for getting the AFSP Record of Completion?

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

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 what is the Annual Filing Season Program or “AFSP.”

-> Hi, I’m Carolyn Weaver with FunCPE, and this is AFSP tip #3

-> The AFSP was established by the IRS in 2014. The program is intended to provide recognition to tax preparers who keep up with tax law changes through continuing education.

This new program essentially replaced the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) program that the IRS announced in November 2011 and suspended in January 2013.  The main difference between the two programs is

  • AFSP is voluntary, not required
    • AFSP is completely voluntary, although you do receive additional rights and recognition
    • RTRP was required to prepare taxes
  • AFSP does not have a test at an independent testing center
    • AFSP does not have a comprehensive test, although it does have required continuing education or CE
    • RTRP required exams were administered at an independent testing facility
  • AFSP is not a certificate program
    • AFSP completion earns you an IRS Record of Completion, but it is not called a certificate and you cannot use the term “certified”
    • RTRP completion you did receive a Registered Tax Return Preparer certificate

-> The AFSP program is voluntary, but it does provide some advantages to participants.

If you complete the AFSP requirements you will:
• be listed on the IRS website as a tax preparer with credentials
• have some additional representation rights

-> Requirement #1: you must have a valid PTIN or preparer tax ID number prior to starting your CE. CE or CPE means continuing professional education.

-> Requirement #2: all CE must be completed by December 31st.

-> Requirement #3: CE courses must be taken from an IRS approved provider. Most approved CE providers will display the IRS approved continuing education provider logo, which makes it easy to verify.

-> The required courses for nonexempt preparers are:

1. An annual federal tax refresher or AFTR course-six hours
2. Ethics course-two hours
3. Other federal tax courses totaling 10 hours. These other federal tax courses can be on any subject under the federal tax law umbrella.

-> If you are an exempt preparer you don’t have to take the six hour AFTR course but instead you have to take a three-hour tax update course. So the required courses are:

1. Tax update-three hours
2. Ethics-two hours
3. Other federal tax courses totaling 10 hours

-> FunCPE submits your completed courses automatically to the IRS.

-> As soon as you have completed all your required courses, the IRS starts a three-step process.

-> Step 1: you receive an email from the IRS asking you if you would like to participate in the program.

-> Step 2: you reply to the email, agreeing to follow the Circular 230 rules.

-> Step 3: the IRS send you an email telling you that you can now download and print your AFSP Record of Completion.

-> 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