​Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion Designation

The Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) aims to recognize the efforts of non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism. Those who choose to participate can meet the requirements by obtaining 18 hours of continuing education, including a six-hour federal tax law refresher course with test. The return preparer must have a current PTIN for the upcoming year and consent to adhere to the obligations in Circular 230, Subpart B and section 10.51.

Upon completion of these requirements, the return preparer receives an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion from the IRS and can be listed in the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials.

Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR)

Generally, in order to earn the AFSP – Record of Completion, you must pass a six (6) hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course that covers filing season issues and tax law updates, as well as a knowledge-based comprehension test. This course and test are included with all levels of NATP membership.

Exemption from the AFTR

Preparers who have successfully completed one of the following national or state tests are exempt from taking the AFTR Course with test:

  • Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) - even if you didn't receive the certificate
  • Oregon/California/Maryland and other state-based return preparer testing programs
  • Accredited Tax Preparer test offered by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy/Taxation
  • Part I of the Special Enrollment Exam during two-year eligibility window (you must still be within the two-year eligibility window on Jan. 1 of filing season)
  • Successful VITA/TCE program volunteers who are quality reviewers, return preparers and instructors with active PTINs

Course and test information

The refresher course will be based on general filing season concepts, tax updates and typical trouble areas identified by the IRS, and must be completed on an annual basis, by Dec. 31. Regardless of delivery method, the AFTR must include a minimum 100-question comprehension test. A passing score is 70% or higher and the test must be completed in three hours or less. The test may be taken more than once to obtain a passing score.​

Annual CPE requirements

In order to obtain the voluntary AFSP - Record of Completion, participants must annually meet IRS-approved CPE requirements.

Preparers exempt from the AFTR course or credentialed tax preparers must take 15 hours annually of the following types of CPE:

  • 3 hours – Federal tax updates
  • 10 hours – Federal tax law topics
  • 2 hours – Ethics

Non-credentialed/non-exempt or unenrolled tax preparers who want a voluntary Record of Completion must take 18 hours annually of the following types of CPE:

  • 6 hours – AFTR course with a passing score of 70% or better on the comprehension test
  • 10 hours – Federal tax law topics
  • 2 hours – Ethics

To obtain the AFSP - Record of Completion, all required CPE, including passing the AFTR course with test (if required), must be completed by Dec. 31 prior to the start of the upcoming filing season.

You can fulfill these CPE requirements through our many education offerings, available on our Events & Education page.

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