If you are an entrepreneur looking to cut expenses by hiring a tax preparer to file your taxes, reduce your tax bill or solve complex tax issues, the AFSP program will suit you. You might also enroll in the Annual Filing Season Program to increase your revenue streams as a tax preparer.
There are four groups of tax-preparers, including tax attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents (EA’s), annual filing season program participants (AFSP), and tax-preparers with no credentials. Both have different levels of expertise, credentials, rate cards, and certification.
Of the trained tax-preparers, enrolled agents have the highest IRS credentials and represent you at both state and federal levels. In addition, they are cheaper than CPAs, who have only state certification. When hiring a tax preparer, you must seek one with the skills and credentials that suits your needs and tax complexities. Tax attorneys are only needed for complicated tax issues, and they are very expensive, thus not needed for simple tax issues.
The Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP)
AFSP is an acronym for the Annual Filing Season Program. The AFSP program by the IRS is designed for accreditation as a tax preparer. Tax preparation and planning is a complex endeavor that requires expertise and training.
IRS AFSP Requirements
As an Annual Filing Season Program participant, you must meet certain continuing-training requirements. The requirements include an annual refresher course with attestation for annual registration. The IRS AFSP requirements also include stiff continuing education.
The IRS AFSP requirements include 6 hours of the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course, completion of 12 CPE credits, and a test. You must also renew your IRS preparer tax identification number (PTIN) for the following year and consent to adhere to IRS regulations and obligations as a tax preparer.
AFSP Tax Preparer
You can earn as an AFSP tax preparer by representing clients before the IRS and preparing their returns. As an AFSP tax preparer, you can’t also do appeals on behalf of a client, nor be a tax collection agent. Your representation rights are also limited. You can only represent the customers whose returns you have prepared and signed, but only before IRS employees like revenue agents or customer service representatives.
Benefits of Enrolling for the Annual Filing Season Program
The AFSB program is designed to help non-credentialed tax-preparers gain certification and professionalism. The program also encourages awareness of tax laws and changes for unregulated return preparers without professional training requirements. Through training in the AFSP program, you also reduce the risk of using tax-preparers with no training in filing requirements and federal and state tax laws.
You also get included in the public database as a PTIN holder with certifications by possessing the AFSP credentials. You save preparer fees by filing your taxes as an AFSP tax preparer. By having AFSP credentials, you are slightly above state-certified tax-preparers. If you want to prepare taxes for clients, you can win them by showing them your record of completion and expertise.
Contact an IRS education provider today to start the journey to being AFSP accredited.