The Annual Filing Season Program Gains More Importance in 2018

The Annual Filing Season Program Gains More Importance in 2018

The congressional passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017 marked the biggest shift in federal tax law in several decades, and many preparers and taxpayers are still trying to figure out just how (and how much) this new tax law will impact them. Fortunately, you don't have to re-invent the wheel by spending hours poring over the federal tax code yourself. Read on to learn more about why the Annual Filing Season Program (ASFP) is more important in 2018 than ever before.

There's a Learning Curve For Everyone

Even seasoned tax professionals have been thrown for a loop by some provisions of the TCJA. With so many changes impacting so many aspects of corporate and individual tax law, it's likely to take far more than one tax season for many preparers to adjust. But enrolling in an ASFP course can give you a leg up on the competition and save you hours of self-study by giving you a roadmap for many of the most common issues you're likely to face when preparing income tax returns in 2018. 

Your Clients' Needs May Be Different This Year

Some critics of the updated federal withholding tables have argued that these tables don't accurately account for the taxation of certain income, potentially leading many W-2 workers to inadvertently under-withhold their owed taxes. Being able to spot and correct this issue quickly can save both you and your clients a headache when April 15 rolls around. 

More People May Need Tax Help in 2019

By participating in the AFSP, which the IRS defines as obtaining 18 hours of continuing education and taking the federal tax law refresher test, you'll be included in a public database of federal tax return preparers posted directly on the IRS website. Because of the many changes to the tax code for the 2018 tax year (and the quirks that can come from programming these changes into the most popular brands of DIY income tax software), it's likely more taxpayers will be seeking out professional help in early 2019.

Taking a series of ASFP courses and the refresher test, receiving your record of completion, and having your name and credentials posted on the IRS website can improve your odds of gaining new clients this tax season. In addition, the useful information you absorb in these courses can ensure you'll be able to provide your clients with clear, effective, and helpful advice.

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