IRS Annual Filing Season Program
After much speculation, the IRS formally announced a “new voluntary program designed to encourage education and filing season readiness for paid tax return preparers”.
Many of you have contacted us with questions on this new program, so we have put together a Q&A of the more common questions we are getting.
1. What is the new program?
The program calls for a voluntary Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) that will allow un-enrolled (non-exempt) return preparers to obtain a record of completion when they voluntarily complete 18 hours of continuing education (CE), including a course in basic tax filing issues and updates, ethics and other federal tax law courses, as follows:
- 6 hours of Annual Federal Tax Refresher course (with a required comprehension test at completion)
- 10 hours of federal tax law topics
- 2 hours of ethics
For the first year, a transition rule will apply to prorate the required hours. For a return preparer to obtain a record of completion for the 2015 filing season, a total of 11 hours will need to be earned in 2014, including the six hour refresher course, three hours of other federal tax law topics and two hours of ethics.
2. What is the IRS Registry?
Unenrolled Return Preparers who complete this annual CE program will be included in an IRS Database of tax professionals who have completed the Annual Filing Season Program, along with CPAs, EAs, Attorneys, as well as Enrolled (Exempt) tax professionals identified by the IRS (state certified, tax preparers who have passed Part 1 of the Enrolled Agent Exam within the past two years, etc). More importantly, beginning in 2016, PTIN holders without an AFSP – Record of Completion or other professional credential will only be permitted to prepare tax returns. They will NOT be allowed to represent clients before the IRS.
3. Does ExamMatrix offer the Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course?
ExamMatrix DOES offer the six-hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course. It utilizes much of the course functionality you saw with our RTRP and EA Exam prep, but also includes a “linear” teaching component that will first update you on each of the 35 items required in the IRS Annual Refresher Course.
4. In addition to the six-hour Annual Refresher Course, I will need 5 additional hours of CE this year and then 12 additional hours of CE each year beginning in 2016. Will ExamMatrix be offering other courses?
In addition to the six-hour IRS Annual Tax Refresher Course, ExamMatrix will be offering additional IRS Approved CE Course through our partnerships with The Income Tax School and CCH Small Firm Services.
Click here for more information.