Contact Us : 800.874.5346 | International: +1 352.375.0772
Contact Us : 800.874.5346 | International: +1 352.375.0772

AFSP | Annual Filing Season Program

The easiest way to stand out as a tax preparer. AFSP is offered annually by the IRS to recognize non-credentialed tax return preparers.

Packages for every tax preparer

Get industry-leading Continuing Education (CE) plus our IRS-approved Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course (AFTR) if you need it! We'll even report to the IRS for you.
AFSP Packages

The right choice for growing your business

AFSP gives you immediate returns and does not involve a large commitment of money or time. As a result, this program is a must-have for all non-certificated tax preparers and is perfect for part-time tax preparers trying to demonstrate extra value to potential employers.

The benefits of completing AFSP

Better visibility
Completing AFSP places you on the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers. This is the same list the IRS uses to suggest tax return preparers to people in need of one, and therefore a great way to get more exposure and clients.

AFSP distinguishes you from other non-credentialed return preparers.

More services
Completing AFSP gives you the right to represent clients whose returns you have prepared and signed before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

Tax preparers who do not have a credential or who have not completed AFSP can only prepare tax returns.

Implicit trust
Tax scams are getting more news coverage, and taxpayers are becoming more thoughtful when selecting tax preparers. In fact, in 2015, the IRS began a campaign to encourage taxpayers to choose tax preparers carefully and uses their directory as the standard for professional tax preparers.

Being endorsed by the IRS is a great way to show potential customers they are in good hands.

How do I complete the Annual Filing Season Program?

The easiest way is to buy a package like ours. You are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education, 10 hours of federal tax law, 2 hours of ethics, and a 6-hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course. Our packages have everything you need to complete AFSP, and we’ll even report completion to the IRS for you!

You will also need to meet a few basic qualifications:

  • You must have an active preparer tax identification number (PTIN).
    Applying for and renewing your PTIN takes about 15 minutes using the IRS’s online system.
  • You must consent and adhere to specific practice obligations.

You may complete your continuing education prior to renewing your PTIN, but you will not receive your Record of Completion from the IRS until you’ve renewed your PTIN.

If you’ve previously passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) exam, or if you have passed Part 1 of the SEE (EA) exam within the last two years, some of your requirements are waived! You’ll still need to complete 15 hours of continuing education on ethics and tax laws, but you’re exempt from the 6-hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course.

AFSP vs the Enrolled Agent (EA) designation

The Enrolled Agent designation is the gold standard for tax preparers, but it comes with a greater investment of time and money.

Enrolled Agents have unlimited representation rights, which means they can represent taxpayers before the IRS for any tax matters—audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals. However, Enrolled Agents also need to pass the 3-part Special Enrollment Exam (SEE) and complete continuing education to maintain the certification. Basically, becoming an Enrolled Agent is time consuming, but it is usually worth it because of the increased earning potential and market visibility.

Completing the AFSP is a good middle ground for tax preparers. It doesn’t have a steep time requirement, so you can complete the program quickly and reap the benefits immediately. It is also useful for new tax preparers who aren’t quite ready to commit to getting their EA designation.

Gleim Annual Filing Season Program packages have everything you need

Each year, we update our courses to meet all of the requirements set by the IRS. If you meet the basic requirements above and complete our AFSP course, you’ll receive your Record of Completion. We’ll even take care of reporting to the IRS!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP)?

AFSP is the voluntary program of the IRS that aims to recognize the efforts of non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism.

The Annual Filing Season Program also allows tax return preparers to be listed in an official IRS database alongside other practitioners with recognized credentials and qualifications, such as CPAs, attorneys, and Enrolled Agents. This database is set up to educate consumers who utilize tax preparers to complete their returns and provides them with assurance that the tax preparers listed are up-to-date on current tax laws and have met certain educational requirements.

Tax return preparers who earn the Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion will enjoy continued representation rights. As of January 1, 2016, only tax preparers who have received a Record of Completion are eligible to represent their clients before the IRS.

What is the purpose of AFSP?

The Annual Filing Season Program aims to recognize the efforts of non-credentialed tax return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism.

What are the advantages of obtaining an AFSP - Record of Completion?

AFSP participants are included in a public database of return preparers on the IRS website. In addition, the IRS launched a public education campaign in January 2015 encouraging taxpayers to select return preparers carefully and seek those with professional credentials or other select qualifications.

Annual Filing Season Program participants will have limited representation rights; meaning they can represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees (including the Taxpayer Advocate Service). PTIN holders without an AFSP – Record of Completion will only be permitted to prepare tax returns. They will not be allowed to represent clients before the IRS.

How do I obtain an AFSP - Record of Completion?

To receive a Record of Completion from the IRS, you must take 18 hours of continuing education from IRS-approved CE providers, including

  • a 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 administered at the end of the course;
  • 10 hours of other federal tax law topics; and
  • 2 hours of ethics.
  • Have an active preparer tax identification number (PTIN).
  • Consent and adhere to specific practice obligations outlined in Subpart B and Section 10.51 of Treasury Department Circular No. 230.

Do I need to retake the AFSP every year?

Yes, the Annual Filing Season Program must be completed yearly to maintain recognition.

When do I need to complete my AFSP and other relevant continuing education?

Courses must be completed by midnight (customer’s local time), December 31st of the current calendar year in order for the IRS to recognize your credentials for the following year.

How do I sign up for a new PTIN?

Most first-time PTIN applicants can obtain a PTIN online in about 15 minutes. There is no fee for obtaining or renewing your PTIN. First, you must create an account. Go to the IRS PTIN System and click on the link under “New User” to create an account. Follow the prompts to complete the account setup process.

How do I renew my PTIN?

First, log in to your online PTIN account. On the Main Menu, next to “PTIN Renewal,” click on “Select” and then follow the prompts to complete your online renewal.

How do I access my online IRS PTIN account?

Go to the IRS PTIN System. On the top left side of the page under “Returning User,” enter your User ID and Password in the designated fields. Then click “Sign In.” If you are having trouble remembering your User ID or Password, click on the appropriate link.

How and when will I get my Record of Completion?

When PTIN renewal season begins in October, a Record of Completion will be generated by the IRS once all requirements have been met, including renewal of your PTIN for 2022 and consent to the Circular 230 obligations.

What about individuals who passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer test?

Those who passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer test are exempt from the 6-hour federal tax law refresher course with test. To receive the AFSP – Record of Completion, they must complete 15 hours of continuing education in tax-related subjects from IRS-approved CE providers.

Do I have to report my CE credits to the IRS?

No. Gleim reports them for you as long as you provide your PTIN prior to course completion.

When does Gleim report my CE credits to the IRS?

Credits are electronically reported to the IRS every Tuesday provided you entered your PTIN number prior to course completion.

Trusted by dozens of certifying organizations

All Gleim courses are in compliance with the standards issued jointly by the AICPA and NASBA and our Certificate of Completion is accepted by the IRS, the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation, Oregon State Board of Tax Practitioners, The Institute of Internal Auditors, Institute of Certified Management Accountants, and many others.