You may have noticed an email from the IRS this week to non-credentialed preparers about the new Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). If you did not then you may be want to go back and check or login to your PTIN account.

The IRS sent out approximately 390,000 emails this week via the PTIN system notifying preparers of the requirements and benefits of participating in the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP)

With PTIN renewal open season just around the corner – scheduled to open October 16th – PTIN holders that would like to receive a record of completion when they renew their PTIN will need to complete the AFSP. You may complete the AFSP anytime before December 31st. However, if you would like to receive your record of completion when you renew your PTIN you would need to complete the AFSP prior to PTIN renewal.

Requirements for completing the AFSP can vary – depending on what state you are in and if you had previously successfully passed the RTRP exam you can be exempt from the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course and only need to complete a reduced number of continuing education hours.

Some of the benefits of the AFSP in addition to the record of completion are:

  • Being listed in a public directory – that will be called the “Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications” – this can be a great source for potential customers to find your services and also serve as a free medium of advertising.
  • Being sure that you receive all the critical updates for the 2015 filing season – many preparers already complete continuing education or professional development courses so by participating in the AFSP you will get all the benefits of the new updates plus tangible benefits of having the AFSP designation.
  •  Limited representation rights, beginning in 2016, only the categories of preparers listed in the pubic directory will have the right to represent taxpayers before the IRS. (Attorneys and CPA’s and EA’s will continue to have unlimited representation rights.)
  • A designation that sets you apart from other tax preparers. You can use the AFSP designation on email signatures, letter head and other marketing materials. This can really help you stand out from other tax return prepares as you advertise and market yourself ad a professional tax return preparer.

If you have additional questions regarding the Annual Filing Season Program you can visit: http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Annual-Filing-Season-Program  or call one of our education advisors at 1-800-605-3538.