The IRS launched the voluntary Annual Filing Season Program last year as a way to “encourage continuing education (CE) and filing season readiness.” According to an IRS release, 44,000 tax return preparers participated in the program this year. Did you?
If you are one of the reported 400,000 “uncredentialed preparers” (either not an EA or did not go through the IRS program), here are some reasons why you should consider the AFSP this year.
All tax return preparers who successfully complete the AFS will be listed on the IRS Federal Tax Return Preparers Directory as certified. This list is being marketed to taxpayers as of January 2015 through a public education campaign. The campaign encourages taxpayers to select return preparers carefully and seek those with professional credentials or other select qualifications. The list or directory is there to help taxpayers determine who is qualified to prepare their taxes.
“This new directory will be a practical tool for the millions of Americans who rely on the services of a paid return preparer.” – IRS Commissioner John Koskinen
Representing your clients
PTIN holders without an AFSP Record of Completion or other professional credential are only permitted to prepare tax returns. Annual Filing Season Program participants have limited representation rights. These rights give unenrolled tax preparers the ability to 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.
Promote Your Credentials
Completing the voluntary program will give you the ability to market yourself as a credentialed preparer. One way to promote that you have completed the program is by adding, “as seen on IRS.gov” to your email signature, business cards, or other promotional materials.
Certificate from the IRS
Upon completing the IRS Annual Filing Season Program, you will receive a record of completion. This is another great way to promote your qualifications as a tax preparer.
Set Yourself Apart
Taking the AFSP will allow you to prove that you are a qualified preparer. There are over 400,000 tax preparers who chose not to complete the program. You can set yourself apart and have the means to show that you are qualified to prepare taxes by completing the program, receiving a record of completion, and adding your name to the official IRS Directory.
The program is merely a refresher course that includes Continuing Education courses you should be completing anyways. Why not get it done?
Click here to find out more about the Annual Filing Season Program and how to register through The Income Tax School.
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