This IRS voluntary program aims to recognize the efforts of non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism. Practitioners can meet the requirements by renewing their PTIN, obtaining 18 hours of continuing education, including a six hour federal tax law refresher course and test and consenting to adhere to specific practice obligations outlined to Circular 230 to receive an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion from the IRS.
Beginning January 1, 2016, rules about who may represent clients before the IRS changed. Attorneys, certified public accountants and enrolled agents will continue to have full representation rights for all clients before all IRS offices.
Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion Holders will have limited representation rights, meaning they can represent clients whose returns they prepare and sign, but only before examination, customer service representatives, and the Taxpayer Advocate Service. (To have limited representation rights, you must participate both in the year of return preparation and the year of representation).
Other tax return preparers who do not participate in the Annual Filing Season Program will not be permitted to represent any clients before the IRS for tax returns and claims for refund prepared and signed after December 31, 2015.
Additionally, by participating in the Annual Filing Season Program, you will be included in the "Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications" at www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro.
Learn more about the requirements necessary for participation in the AFSP, visit https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/general-requirements-for-the-annual-filing-season-program-record-of-completion.