The Annual Filing Season Program is intended to recognize and encourage unenrolled tax return preparers who voluntarily increase their knowledge and improve their filing season competency through continuing education (CE).
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- Take 18 hours of continuing education from IRS-Approved CE Providers, including:
- a six (6) hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course that covers filing season issues and tax law updates, as well as a knowledge-based comprehension test administered at the end of the course by the CE Provider;
- ten (10) hours of other federal tax law topics; and
- two (2) hours of ethics.
- All courses need to be completed by December 31, 2020
- Have an active preparer tax identification number (PTIN).
- Consent to adhere to specific practice obligations outlined in Subpart B and section 10.51 of Treasury Department Circular No. 230.
After PTIN renewal season begins in October, a Record of Completion will be generated to you once all requirements have been met, including renewal of your PTIN for 2020 and consent to the Circular 230 obligations.
If you have an online PTIN account, you will receive an e-mail from TaxPro_PTIN@irs.gov with instructions on how to sign the Circular 230 consent and receive your certificate in your online secure mailbox. (Note: The TaxPro_PTIN@irs.gov mailbox only sends messages. It does not accept or process messages.)
If you don’t have an online PTIN account, you will receive a letter with instructions for completing the application process and obtaining your certificate.
Yes. Some unenrolled preparers are exempt from the AFTR course requirement because of their completion of other recognized state or national competency tests. These exempt groups are still required to meet other program requirements, including 15 CE credits: 10 federal tax law, three (3) federal tax law updates, and two (2) ethics.
The IRS has provided a chart showing the CE Requirements for the AFSP: