AFSP – How to get Record of Completion
Instructions for obtaining the AFSP Record of Completion
For each year ending December 31st–For the following year’s tax filing season
There are 4 steps to obtaining the Record of Completion (ROC).
Renew your PTIN
Pass all final exams for CPE courses by 12/31
Receive IRS email notice
Elect to Participate
1. Renew your PTIN. You need to have a valid PTIN at the time you complete a CPE course in order for the credits to get posted to your PTIN account. Then you will need to renew your PTIN for the following year in order to prepare returns during that calendar year and receive your AFSP Record of Completion.
2. Complete the required CPE courses by 12/31. The courses you need depend on whether you are exempt or non-exempt. We post your completed CPE hours to the IRS electronically.
Timing of posting of CE courses to IRS system
During December we post your completions within 24 hours. During the rest of the year we post every Monday for the week just finished that Sunday.
The IRS then posts the courses to the individual’s PTIN account. The IRS posts twice a day.
3. Receive email notice from IRS (TaxPro_PTIN (at) irs.gov) that you have met all the requirements of the AFSP. The IRS sends this email usually within 24 hours of completing all steps, including your last CE hours are submitted and your PTIN has been renewed. There are some exceptions to the consent letter timing for exempt preparers (see troubleshooting section below).
4. Login to your PTIN account to agree to the terms. On the Main Menu, select “AFSP Record of Completion – Circular 230 Consent” (or if you have a credential such as EA or CPA etc., the option will read “Elect to Participate in AFSP.”) Follow the screen prompts to elect to participate. The IRS has a video titled “AFSP Final Steps: Consenting to the Circular 230 Requirements and Printing your Record of Completion” which walks you through the steps.
Within 12 hours, you should log in again to find a printable Record of Completion in your “View my messages” mailbox.
After you receive your Record of Completion
You will be famous
You will be listed on the IRS website in the “Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.”
You can look for your listing about the first week in January after completing your AFSP.
Your rights as an AFSP
AFSP participants will have limited representation rights, meaning they can represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
What to put on your business card
Tax preparers can add the term
“AFSP – Record of Completion“
to business cards, stationary, email signatures, etc.
Troubleshooting why you have not received your AFSP yet
What if you do NOT get the email notice from the IRS
The first thing to check if you do not get the notice that you have met the requirements for the AFSP, is to login to your PTIN account at the IRS website, and verify all the CE hours you have completed have been posted to your account. If the hours have not been posted, contact your CE Provider (FunCPE, for example) by email to find out if possibly there was a problem posting your hours (usually due to a typo in the name or PTIN).
The IRS indicated to us that the AFSP emails are sent within about 24-48 hours of receiving the CE posting from the provider.
A time lag can occur if the IRS has not yet received third-party confirmations of students in the Exempt classification.
Why is there a delay in the AFSP issuance for Exempt preparers?
Exempt preparers include credentials CPA, EA, Attorney, RTRP, ATP, ABA and preparers registered in CA, MD and OR, along with a few other professionals. Since the EA and RTRP records are maintained by the IRS, there is no delay in completing the AFSP process.
Anyone qualifying for AFSP based on an AFTR exemption from one of the other noted organizations may experience a lengthier timeline before having the chance to make their AFSP election and receiving their Record of Completion.
The reason is that the IRS must wait to receive and process the AFTR exemption records. The IRS receives AFTR course exemption records from states and organizations in conjunction with PTIN renewal open season (mid-October – December).
The IRS obtains the exemption records weekly, others monthly, and some at the end of the year and into January, especially if someone is testing up to December 31st. So, there are these added steps beyond the CE verification for uncredentialed return preparers qualifying for AFSP based on an AFTR exemption.
The IRS adds new AFTR exemption records to the PTIN system once a week, but when the AFSP election becomes available, allowing for the Record of Completion issuance, depends on when the IRS receives AFTR exemption information from states and organizations.
What correspondence will you get from the IRS regarding the AFSP?
1) If you do not have an online PTIN account
If you do in fact take the required courses, you must have an active PTIN to participate in the AFSP.
Create or renew your online PTIN account at www.irs.gov/ptin
Notify your CE course provider of your PTIN and request that your completed courses be posted to your account.
After the courses are posted to your account, this will trigger a notice to you from the IRS asking if you want to partipate in the AFSP for the upcoming tax season.
The final step is to elect to participate by agreeing to the Circular 230 consent (see Step 4 above).
2. If you have an online PTIN account and have taken some but not all the necessary courses to qualify for the AFSP
You will get the following email (note--adjust the dates as needed, this is just an example):
Subject: You are almost eligible for the 2024 Annual Filing Season Program
Our records indicate you need three or less hours of continuing education by December 31, 2023, to be eligible for the Internal Revenue Service's 2024 Annual Filing Season Program. Don't miss the deadline!
[This message pertains to Exempt Preparers, who have a 15 hour requirement.] You must have a total of 15 hours of continuing education from IRS-Approved CE Providers in the following categories to participate in the 2024 program:
- 3 hours of federal tax law updates;
- 10 hours of other federal tax law topics; and
- 2 hours of ethics.
You can view your current CE credits in your online PTIN account. On the Main Menu, select "View My Continuing Education Credits".
Attorneys, certified public accountants, and enrolled agents have full representation rights for all clients before all IRS offices. Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion holders have limited representation rights, meaning they can represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before examination, customer service representatives, and the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
[Non-credentialed preparers who are] Non-participants in the Annual Filing Season Program do not have any representational rights before the IRS for returns prepared after December 31, 2015.
For more information about the IRS Annual Filing Season Program, visit www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/annual-filing-season-program.
Return Preparer Office
Internal Revenue Service
3. If you have completed the courses required to get the AFSP
You will receive the standard email asking you to consent to the Circular 230 standards. We do not have an example of the exact email sent out by the IRS, but this is how it works:
- Following the completion of all Continuing Education requirements and renewal of PTIN for the upcoming year, eligible return preparers will receive an email from the IRS.
- The email will provide instructions for logging into your PTIN account and completing the process.
- Among the final steps will be a required consent to adhere to specific practice obligations outlined in Subpart B and section 10.51 of Treasury Department Circular No. 230 PDF.
- Following successful completion of these steps, you will be issued an Annual Filing Season Program - Record of Completion.
Credentialed tax preparers such as EA, CPA, Attorney, RTRP, ABA, ATP and preparers registered in CA, OR or MD are not required to notify the IRS of their credential or provide evidence of it. These credentials for exempt tax preparers are independently verified directly by the IRS, and may result in a longer delay in completing the AFSP process.
The IRS provides a video showing the final steps to consent to the Circular 230 and finalize the AFSP-Record of Completion.