Understanding the Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR)

If you are looking to take the Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) for the 2015 filing season, there is some important information for you to know.

Here are some basics of the refresher course information:

  • Based on the general filing season concepts
  • Will contain tax updates
  • Will contain typical trouble areas, based on the IRS

The test must be provided by an IRS-approved CPE provider. It must be complete annually unless you get an exemption and it can be offered in a variety of delivery methods.

Here is what you need to know about the comprehensive test:

No matter how it is delivered, the AFTR must have 100 questions and be comprehensive. You must get a score of 70% or higher to pass and the test must be completed in 3 hours or less. You can take the test more than once if needed to get a passing score. The IRS will provide an outline each year so you know what is covered and can study for it.

Getting an Exemption from AFTR

You can get exemption from the AFTR if you meet certain qualifications such as being a Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP), even if you didn’t get the certification. If you have taken an Oregon, California or other state-based return preparer testing program. If you take the Accredited Tax Preparer test offered by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy/Taxation can also get you an exemption.

Now that you have this information about the AFTR, you are prepared to study and sign up to take yours. This is a very helpful tool for tax preparers because it means you will always be up to date on the latest changes, allowing you to more readily help your clients.

You can get the full course outline from the IRS here.

The IRS designed the AFSP to keep tax return preparers informed and also to assure the public that these prepares are qualified. The AFSP encompasses an Annual Tax Refresher course with a course outline provided directly by the IRS. This ensures all courses have the proper material to keep all tax preparers current with all new tax laws. Upon completion, you will be placed in a directory of tax return preparers with select qualification on the IRS website. For more information on the AFSP go to: http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Annual-Filing-Season-Program.