It might come as a shock to learn that tax preparers are not federally regulated. You need a license to cut someone’s hair, but in most places within the U.S., you don’t need a license to prepare someone’s tax return.
Despite this, it’s important for all tax preparers to keep up with current tax laws which can change year to year. Doing so ensures your clients are meeting their obligations, while paying the least legitimate amount of tax possible. The quickest and easiest way you can do that as tax preparers is by completing the IRS voluntary Annual Filing Season Program, or AFSP.
The AFSP is a yearly tax training program that aims to recognize the efforts of non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism. It’s essentially a program that highlights basic topics the IRS deems as most important for tax preparers to know, as well as yearly tax law updates, and ethics. It’s truly the minimum standard that any tax preparer should complete each year. This ensures we are staying current with the everchanging tax laws, and abiding by the IRS code of ethics.
Advantages of the completing AFSP requirements include:
- Ability to Represent Your Clients: AFSP participants have limited representation rights, and it enables you to represent your clients during an examination of a return prepared by you. This is a massive distinction, as no one wants a tax preparer who can’t represent them if the IRS has questions.
- FREE Marketing: AFSP participants are listed on the IRS Federal Tax Return Preparers Directory with professional credentials or other select qualifications.
- Promotion of Your Credentials: You can market yourself as a credentialed preparer by adding, “as seen on IRS.gov” or “AFSP – Record of Completion” to your tax designation.
- Certificate from the IRS: You receive a Record of Completion from the IRS, as well as a Certificate of Completion from Surgent Income Tax School for each course.
- Set Yourself Apart from Your Competitors: Completion of this program sets you apart from other non-credentialed preparers and shows that you are qualified to prepare tax returns.
So, how can you qualify for the IRS Annual Filing Season Program?
That’s it! It’s an easy way to separate yourself from your competition, and it can make a massive difference for your bottom line. Learn more about the Annual Filing Season Program.