IRS Released 2021 AFTR Outline: Here's How To Participate
The IRS has just released the AFTR outline for 2021, which will be applicable for the 2022 tax season. This course will be available starting on June 1st for all return preparers.
You may be wondering what the benefit is to participate in the IRS’ Annual Filing Season Program, and what the specific requirements are to do so. The IRS began the program in order to allow non-credentialed return preparers to set themselves apart by completing an additional 18 hours of continuing education, which includes a six-hour federal tax law refresher course with an exam.
Once a return preparer has completed the Annual Filing Season Program, they are included in a searchable public database on the IRS website.
The Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications includes:
- the name,
- ZIP Code,
- and credentials of all attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents and enrolled actuaries with a valid PTIN, as well as all Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion holders - allowing potential clients and business contacts to find you with ease.
How To Receive Annual Filing Season Program - Record of Completion
In order to receive your Annual Filing Season Program - Record of Completion from the IRS, you must also renew your 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.
If you’ve already passed your Registered Tax Return Preparer test, and/or certain other recognized national and state tests, you are exempt from the six-hour federal tax law refresher course and exam requirements. You only need 15 hours of continuing education each year in order to obtain an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion.
It’s important to know that an Annual Filing Season Program - Record of Completion is not required in order to prepare returns. However, this additional certification sets you apart from other return preparers. The IRS strongly encourages taxpayers to select return preparers with professional credentials and qualifications.
Annual Filing Season Program participants have limited representation rights, including representing clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents continue to be the only tax professionals with unlimited representation rights, which means they can represent their clients on any tax matters, including audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals.
PTIN holders without an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion or other professional credentials will only be permitted to prepare tax returns, and will not be able to represent clients in any capacity.