2021 AFSP Frequently Asked Questions
Is Fast Forward Academy authorized by the IRS to offer Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) training?
Yes. Fast Forward Academy is an IRS authorized continuing education provider. The AFSP courses we offer are eligible for credit under the Annual Filing Season Program. Preparers who complete the AFSP will be listed in a public database which will be added to IRS.gov by January 2021. This database will be available for taxpayers to use in searching for qualified tax return preparers. The Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications will only include attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents (ERPAs), enrolled actuaries, and individuals who have received an Annual Filing Season Program — Record of Completion.
Who is an eligible return preparer?
The AFSP is geared towards unenrolled tax return preparers. The AFSP is not intended for credentialed preparers such as enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, attorneys, CPAs, or enrolled actuaries.
How do I earn an Annual Filing Season Program — Record of Completion?
Successful completion of 18 hours of continuing education from an IRS-approved provider is required to earn the AFSP Record of Completion.
The courses must consist of:
- 6 credit hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher course (AFTR) covering tax law updates and a review of common tax return issues
- 10 hours of federal tax law topics
- 2 hours of ethics
Do I have to take a test to earn the Annual Filing Season Program — Record of Completion?
Yes. Successful completion of the 6-hour AFTR course includes passing a 100 question multiple-choice exam. The passing score is 70%.
Is there a fee to obtain an Annual Filing Season Program — Record of Completion?
The IRS does not charge a fee to obtain the AFSP - Record of Completion. However, the CE courses must be obtained from an IRS-approved CE provider.
Do I have to report my course completion to the IRS?
No. Your CE provider will report your hours to the IRS.
Will I have any other requirements to obtain the AFSP - Record of Completion?
Yes. You will be required to consent to adhere to the practice obligations in Subpart B and section 10.51 of the Treasury Dept. Circular No. 230.
How do I get my Record of Completion from the IRS?
The AFSP - Record of Completion will not be available immediately upon completion of the required coursework. Access to the certificate will be provided during the PTIN Registration/Renewal Process.
Tax return preparers with online PTIN accounts will receive an email from [email protected] with instructions on how to complete the application process and receive their certificates in their online secure mailbox. This process may take up to four weeks after completion of all requirements.
Tax return preparers without an online PTIN account will receive a letter with instructions for completing the application process and obtaining their certificates.
Are Enrolled Agents, CPAs, attorneys and other credentialed preparers allowed to earn the AFSP - Record of Completion?
Yes. Although the program is not intended for credentialed preparers because they already possess a higher level of qualification, they may still opt to participate in the program and will be subject to the same requirements as exempt preparers.
Will I still be able to represent clients before the IRS if I don't participate in the Annual Filing Season Program?
As a PTIN holder you will continue to have limited representation rights before limited offices of the IRS with respect to clients whose return you prepared and signed for calendar year 2015. Beginning in 2016, however, only AFSP participants who obtain a Record of Completion will have those limited representation rights before the IRS for clients whose returns they prepared and signed. PTIN holders without an AFSP - Record of Completion or without other professional credentials will not be able to represent clients before the IRS in any matters.
Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents will continue to have unlimited representation rights and can represent clients before any office of the IRS.
Do return preparers have to participate in the Annual Filing Season Program?
No. The AFSP is a voluntary program. Those who opt not to complete the AFSP courses may still prepare and file returns; although, continuing education is highly recommended for all preparers.
Is the AFSP Record of Completion a one-time program?
No. This is an annual program. Each Record of Completion will indicate the filing season for which it is valid. Tax preparers will be expected to complete the program each year to obtain a valid Record of Completion for the next filing season.
If I participate, will I be subject to Circular 230?
Yes. To obtain your Record of Completion, unenrolled preparers must agree to adhere to the practice requirements for tax practitioners outlined in Subpart B and section 10.51 of Treasury Department Circular No. 230.
If I am an EA or CPA, will the 6 hour IRS Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course count towards my CE?
CPAs and Enrolled Agents should not take this course. Those with credentials who wish to earn the AFSP Record of Completion from the IRS may do so by taking a 3-hr Federal tax update in place of this course (6-hour AFTR). If you are an enrolled agent this course is not for you, it will not count towards IRS requirements. If you are an Enrolled Agent and wish to receive a record of completion you should take the 3-hour tax update course instead of the AFTR.