- Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP)
- CE & CE Reporting
- Completing Courses
- Continuing Education
- General and Technical Support
- Phones, Tablets and Operating Systems
Those with limited representation rights may only 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.
For a broader discussion on this topic and unlimited representation please click here.
Yes, once you complete all the continuing education requirements and renew your PTIN you need to loging to your PTIN account and complete the process. You can read more about that in this post.
Each credit hour equates to an estimated 50 minutes of class time. The actual time it takes to complete a course is highly dependent on the student’s prior tax knowledge and ability to learn. Someone learning taxes for the first time will likely take more time than someone who has prepared taxes for years.
During your enrollment period there is no limitation on how much time you can access your program. Your material is available for you 24 hours a day; 7 days a week.
All of our CE courses are licensed for 180 days. Normally a student will complete the class within a very short period of time, but this provides a longer period in case of scheduling issues. You must finish your CE course by 12/31 if you wish to receive credit from the IRS. For example, if you purchase a CE course on 11/15/2016 you must complete the class by 12/31/2016 in order for the IRS to accept the credit.
If the street address (the number only) or zip code do not match the credit card billing address then the user will get a message that the card has been declined because the address does not match and to try again.
The order form does not have separate billing and mailing addresses, but when the order is submitted to the authorize.net site for payment the user can change the address there to match the billing address without changing the address on the order form.
If you have completed the first section of our order form and experience a problem on the payment screen, you do not need to recreate your order. Simply click here to login to classroom.onlinetaxuniversity.com and click on the Order button. You’ll see your partially completed order. You can finalize payment from your existing information.
Yes, you should be able to access the Classroom website on most modern mobile devices. However, because of screen size limitations, you may find that it is easier to go through lessons and take tests on a desktop or laptop computer.
If you are having trouble using the website, please open a Support Request and let us know what kind of device you’re using (desktop, tablet, phone), the operating system, browser name, and browser version.
Yes. The Tax University works with the Apple operating system as long as you are using a standard web browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or Safari).
The Tax University Classroom site is accessible on any device with an Interenet connection and a modern web browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer). To view course handouts, as well a the course content for some classes, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed (or other PDF plug-in). If you don’t have Acrobat installed you can download it here for free.
If you have any other questions about accessing our Classroom website, please call us at (434) 227-4480 or open a Support Request.
The Tax University provides a robust support program for its students. Questions can be answered through online forums, email or the phone. Our support staff usually responds to student email questions within two hours Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.
If you have any questions about our courses and wish to contact us please click here.
No. You can leave your lesson partially completed and return at a later point. The program keeps track of the last slide you were viewing.
Yes; you are able to “pause” your test at any point, and return to it at a more convenient time*.
*For the IRS AFTR course you must complete every lesson (and associated slides) and review before you can access the final exam. You are allowed 3-hours for the final exam and it is continuous (you cannot pause the timer).
If you have any questions about our programs and wish to contact us please click here.
IRS requirements for online CE simply stipulate you must pass the course final exam with a score of 70% or higher. There is no stipulation on the amount of time you must spend reviewing course material; and you are not required to access every slide*.
*Note: If you are taking the AFTR course, you must view all lesson slides as well as complete all lesson reviews before you can access the final exam.
No, if you are taking quizzes or final exams during your license period, there is no additional charge.
You are able to view your CE credits in your online PTIN account regardless of your professional credentials.
When you enter the IRS PTIN system, it may not show your credits for one of two reasons:
- The information cannot be displayed because you did not supply the matching PTIN system information correctly to the Tax University or you did not provide us your PTIN information at all.
- The Tax University may not have sent the data to the IRS. You should look in your student account with us or contact us if you have questions about your CE credits.
If you have questions about CE credits from courses you took through the Tax University and wish to contact us please click here.
As an IRS Approved Continuing Education (CE) Provider, the Tax University must submit certificates of completion for all participants that successfully complete our CE courses. We collect and submit to the IRS your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), First and Last Name, program number for the CE course, number of CE hours earned and the date the course was completed. The IRS has requested that we instruct our participants that they do NOT need to submit their certificate of completion to the IRS because we are responsible for doing this on their behalf.
We submit CE records to the IRS on a weekly basis, usually on Fridays.
We are listed on the IRS-Approved Continuing Education Provider list as “Tax University” in Charlottesville, VA. You may access this list by going to ceprovider.us/public/default/listing and scrolling down to “Tax University” in Charlottesville, VA.
Yes. The Tax University is an IRS-Approved Education Provider and our IRS program numbers are published on the site. The IRS requires we administer a final exam as well as a student evaluation.
After you register and pay your tuition, you will receive immediate access to the Tax University’s Continuing Education Courses. All our CE programs are available online so there is no need for printed materials.
No, it’s a voluntary program. Anyone with a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) can prepare tax returns for compensation, but continuing education is encouraged for all tax return preparers.
The IRS believes in a mandatory competency standard for federal tax return preparers. To this end, legislation continues to be the IRS’ priority. But until legislation is enacted, they still have a responsibility to taxpayers and to our tax system to keep moving forward with their efforts to improve service to taxpayers.
In the interim, this new program recognizes the efforts of unenrolled return preparers to improve their professional competency through continuing education. Anyone with a PTIN can prepare a federal tax return, but for those preparers with a PTIN who also work to ready themselves for the filing season through educational efforts, the IRS will issue them a recognizable record of completion that they can show to their clients.
To participate in the AFSP, unenrolled preparers must agree to adhere to the practice requirements for tax practitioners outlined in Subpart B and section 10.51 of Treasury Department Circular No. 230.
Any return preparer who represents a taxpayer before the IRS is subject to Circular 230.
Beginning in 2016, only AFSP participants who obtain a Record of Completion will have limited representation rights before the IRS for clients whose returns they prepared and signed. PTIN holders without an AFSP – Record of Completion or without other professional credentials will not be able to represent clients before the IRS in any matters.
Attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents will continue to have unlimited representation rights and can represent clients before any office of the IRS.
No, as indicated above, this program is not designed, directed or intended for credentialed preparers who already possess a much higher level of qualification. However, if a credentialed preparer seeks to participate in the program, he or she would be required to meet the same requirements as those preparers in the exempt category.
The Directory will include the name, city, state and zip code of all attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, enrolled actuaries and AFSP participants who have obtained a Record of Completion and who have a valid PTIN.
The IRS maintains a public directory on the IRS website of tax return preparers with credentials and select qualifications. This is a searchable, sortable listing so that taxpayers can find a return preparer that carries their preferred credentials or qualification(s).
To be eligible for an AFSP – Record of Completion, a return preparer must complete and pass the AFTR course and obtain their other CE by December 31 prior to the start of the tax season. As AFTR courses are offered by CE providers, return preparers are subject to the schedule of courses offered by these providers.
In no circumstance will the AFSP – Record of Completion be issued before a return preparer has registered or renewed their PTIN for the upcoming year.
After PTIN renewal season begins in October 2015, a Record of Completion will be generated to a return preparer once all requirements, including renewal of their PTIN for 2016, have been met.
Tax return preparers with online PTIN accounts will receive an email from TaxPro_PTIN@irs.gov with instructions on how to complete the application process and receive their certificates in their online secure mailbox.
Tax return preparers without an online PTIN account will receive a letter with instructions for completing the application process and obtaining their certificates.
Those who are exempted from the AFTR course must meet the alternative requirements (15 hours of IRS-approved CE, consent to Circular 230 practice requirements and a valid PTIN for the upcoming filing season) in order to receive an AFSP Record of Completion. Once all requirements are met, the exempted return preparer will automatically be issued a Record of Completion.
A return preparer will not be required to notify the IRS of an exemption. The IRS is obtaining information about exemptions directly from the testing source (e.g. Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners).
Some unenrolled preparers are exempt from the AFTR course requirement because of their completion of other recognized state or national competency tests. These exempt groups are still required to meet other program requirements, including 15 CE credits (10 Federal Tax Law, 3 Federal Tax Law Updates, and 2 Ethics).
Return preparers who can obtain the AFTR – Record of Completion without taking the AFTR course are:
- Anyone who passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer test administered by the IRS between November 2011 and January 2013.
- Established state-based return preparer program participants currently with testing requirements: Return preparers who are active registrants of the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners, California Tax Education Council, and/or Maryland State Board of Individual Tax Preparers.
- SEE Part I Test-Passers: Tax practitioners who have passed the Special Enrollment Exam Part I within the past two years as of the first day of the upcoming filing season.
- VITA volunteers: Quality reviewers and instructors with active PTINs.
- Other accredited tax-focused credential-holders: The Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation’s Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor (ABA) and Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP) programs.
No, following the completion of all Continuing Education requirements, the Tax University will report your completion to the IRS. Return preparers will receive a notice of their potential eligibility for the program. You will be asked to log into your PTIN account for additional information on completing the process. Among the final steps will be a required consent to adhere to specific practice obligations outlined in Subpart B and section 10.51 of Treasury Department Circular No. 230. Following successful completion of these steps, you will be issued an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion.
Please note that it may take up to four weeks following the completion of all requirements for return preparers to receive a Record of Completion and be placed on the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. The IRS cuts off new additions to the return directory in July. If you complete the AFSP requirements after that date you will not appear in the database until January after you renew your PTIN.
The course has not been satisfactorily completed until the comprehension test is passed. The Tax University allows 2 re-takes. If you do not pass after the initial try and 2 re-takes please call our customer support number – (434)227-4480 – to reset your re-takes.
The AFTR Course comprehension test will include all tax law topics covered in the AFTR course. The exam will consist of a minimum of 100 questions made up of multiple choice and True/False style questions. Participants will have a maximum of 3 hours to complete the exam. Refer to the test parameters published by the IRS for more information.
The Annual Federal Tax Refresher course will cover tax law topics across three domains: New Tax Law/Recent Updates, General Review and Ethics, Practices and Procedures. The IRS will publish course content guidelines annually for IRS-approved CE Providers. It is the responsibility of CE Providers to ensure all course content is covered in the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course.
Just as for all CE courses, each IRS-approved CE provider will determine the course participant fee.
No, the IRS does not administer the comprehension test. IRS-approved Continuing Education Providers offer the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course and are responsible for the development and administration of the comprehension test associated with the AFTR course. The IRS does provide a course outline and test parameters which must be followed by providers.
In general, to obtain an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion a return preparer must obtain 18 hours of continuing education from an IRS-approved CE Provider. The hours must include a 6 credit hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course that covers filing season issues and tax law updates. The AFTR course must include a knowledge-based comprehension test administered at the conclusion of the course by the CE Provider. Unenrolled preparers who have passed recognized state or national tests qualify for an exemption from the AFTR course. See below for additional information on course exemptions.
The Annual Filing Season Program is intended to recognize and encourage the voluntary efforts of unenrolled tax return preparers to increase their knowledge and improve their filing season competency through continuing education. The program is not directed at or necessary for credentialed preparers such as attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents or enrolled actuaries. They are already in possession of higher level qualifications.
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.