As a tax preparer, you know that it is very important to remain up to date on procedures, tax law and changes and updates from the IRS. There are also certain programs and education courses that will help you in your business as a tax preparer. Something that is important for you to know about is the Annual Filing Season Program, or AFSP for short. This is a voluntary program created to help encourage tax preparers to continue their education through continuing education (CE) courses.

Unenrolled tax preparers can choose to voluntarily show completion of basic 1040 filing season tax prep as well as other tax law training through CE. Return preparers who are interested in the AFSP will be given a Designation that they can use to show proof of their CE. They can use this to help themselves stand out in a competitive field and prove to potential clients, they are experienced.

Here are some things you need to know about the AFSP.

Who can participate in AFSP?

The program is used to recognize tax preparers who go above and beyond and seek CE in their own free time. When they work to increase their knowledge and improve their ability to file in a tax season, this should be recognized in some way. It is also a useful tool for clients to choose the right tax preparer for their needs.

What are the requirements for obtaining an AFSP designation?

So how can you get a record of completion for 2015 that you can display within your place or business, on your website or anywhere else that you advertise the services you offer? While it can vary, you typically need 18 hours of continuing education from an IRS sanctioned CE provider. It must also include a 6-hour credit for the hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher course (AFTR) or qualify for an exemption to this course. In 2015, the amount of credit hours is prorated, meaning you need a total of 11 hours for Filing Season 2015, including the AFTR course, 3 hours of federal law topics and 2 hours of ethics.

Is there a fee for taking the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP)?

The fees are determined by each IRS-approved CE provider so you will need to check with where you plan to take the course to know the potential fees involved.

The IRS designed the AFSP to keep tax return preparers informed and qualified. The AFSP encompases an Annual Tax Refresher course with a curriculum distributed directly by the IRS. This ensures all courses have the proper material to keep all tax preparers current with all new tax laws. Those who complete the course earn a record of completion and are placed in a directory of tax return preparers with select qualification on the IRS website. For more information on the AFSP go to: http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Annual-Filing-Season-Program.