The Annual Filing Season Program is a voluntary program designed to encourage tax return preparers to participate in continuing education (CE) courses.
Unenrolled return preparers can elect to voluntarily take continuing education each year in preparation for filing season and receive an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion.
The program is important for a number of reasons. It encourages unregulated return preparers who don’t have to meet continuing professional education requirements to stay up to date on tax laws and changes. It helps lessen the risk to taxpayers from preparers who have no education in federal tax law or filing requirements. And it allows preparers without professional credentials to stand out from the competition by giving them a recognizable record of completion that they can show to their clients.
Preparers who complete the AFSP will also be included in a public directory on IRS.gov (click here to access the directory) 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.