Acronyms You Need To Know

The Annual Filing Season Program is a voluntary program that has been designed to encourage non-credentialed tax return preparers to participate in continuing education courses, so they are in the know every year on the latest legislation. Whether you are a new tax preparer or you have been doing this for a long time, there are some definitions that are always worth knowing.  We have put together a list of common acronyms so you can have as a reference for your practice. In no particular order, here they are -

AFTR - Annual Federal Tax Refresher

Every tax return preparer is required by IRS tax law to successfully complete an exam to meet this requirement based on their qualifications. This occurs when the Annual Filing Season Program opens every year in November.

AFSP - refers to the Annual Filing Season Program

The Annual Filing Season Program aims to recognize the efforts of non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism. Those who choose to participate can meet the requirements by obtaining 18 hours of continuing education, including a six hour federal tax law refresher course with test. The return preparer must also renew their preparer tax identification number (PTIN) for the upcoming year and consent to adhere to the obligations in Circular 230, Subpart B and section 10.51. Upon completion of these requirements, the return preparer receives an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion from the IRS.

Circular 230 - Regulations Governing Practice before the Internal Revenue Service

Circular 230 refers to the Treasury Department Circular No. 230, last publication August 2014.  This publication establishes the rules governing those who practice before the U.S. Internal Revenue Service  (IRS), including attorneys, certified public accountants and enrolled agents. The rules in Circular 230 also prohibit certain conduct. Penalties may be imposed for noncompliance. Circular 230 is a hybrid document containing the rules, regulations, ethical/conduct provisions, and disciplinary procedures that apply to those who practice before the IRS.

CTEC ID - California Tax Education Council ID

The CTEC is the California Tax Education Council. CTEC is a California non-profit Corporation that registers tax preparers, the second largest segment of tax preparation professionals serving California, following certified public accountants. Anyone who, for a fee, assists with or prepares a state or federal income tax return, excluding certified public accountants, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries, and certain financial institutions or their employees, must be registered with CTEC.

CTEC is also charged with approving providers of tax education and maintaining and distributing to the public a list of those approved providers. All our courses are approved by CTEC, click through to read more about them here -

CRTP - California Registered Tax Preparers

A CRTP is a tax practitioner qualified to prepare taxes in the state of California. The state requires all paid Tax Preparers to take and pass a California Registered Tax Preparer 60 hour Qualifying Tax Course. In addition it also requires participants to:

  • Pass a criminal background check and submit fingerprint images to CTEC
  • Obtain and maintain a $5,000 tax preparer bond
  • Obtain A Preparer Tax Identification Number
  • Register with the California Tax Education Council (CTEC)

Once you complete the above, you are eligible to qualify as a California Registered Tax Preparer (CRTP).

PTIN - refers to the IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number

A PTIN number is the first step when signing up to fulfill the requirements of the AFSP. It is renewed every year online or via mail. It is also a federal requirement for every tax return preparer. The online system allows one to sign-up and renew their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), keep account information current, view continuing education credits, and receive communications from the IRS Return Preparer Office.

You can apply or renew it by clicking through to this link

RTRP - Registered Tax Return Preparer

In order to become a Registered Tax Return Preparer, a person is required to be age 18 or older, to register with the IRS, and to have a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). A Registered Tax Return Preparer must also pass a competency test covering tax law issues, individual tax return preparation and ethics. He or she is required to pass a tax compliance check conducted by the IRS. To maintain the designation, a Registered Tax Return Preparer is also required to complete 15 hours of continuing education courses each year and renew his or her PTIN annually.