With the cost and fees of large tax preparing corporations steadily going up, in addition to the stories of inaccurate returns and hardships that inaccurate returns cause taxpayers consumers are being more selective when choosing a preparer. Last April, the government Accountability Office reviewed 19 tax preparers through undercover visits and discovered all but two had incorrect refund amounts.
This is a large part of the reason the IRS tried to regulate tax preparers through the RTRP program which was successfully challenged in court. Now, to help find an interim solution that will benefit both tax preparers and taxpayers the IRS has developed the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) and Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course.
To incentivize tax preparers to participate in the program, the IRS has added many benefits to preparers who participate in the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP)
First - get an IRS Recognized Credential. You can use the AFSP designation on letter-head, business cards and email. This will help preparers advertise their advanced credentials and help taxpayers identify qualified preparers.
Next, the IRS will place preparers who complete the AFSP in a directory of preparers with select qualifications. The IRS has launched a public awareness campaign to urge taxpayers to select the preparer from this directory to ensure an accurate return. This also serves as a great resource for advertising.
Additionally tax preparers who complete the Annual Filing Season Program will receive a record of completion from the IRS when they renew their PTIN. This can be displayed prominently so customers and potentials customer can feel safe knowing their preparer is fully up to date on the latest tax laws and updates.
Next year the benefits get even more dramatic as only preparers who complete the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) will retain limited representation rights for returns they prepare.
Questions about the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) and Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR)? Call an educational advisor today at 1-800-605-3538.