Benefits of Getting Your Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion


The Annual Filing Season Program, or AFSP, is an IRS initiative that helps tax return preparers keep up with code changes and expand their skills through rigorous continuing education.

Mastering the AFSP shows your clients that you are a skilled and responsible professional willing to go the extra mile for them. Discover how satisfying AFSP requirements will help you stand out in a crowded field and increase both your skill and income as a tax return preparer.

Grow Your Business

The secret to growing your clientele is marketing to the right audience. Let the IRS help you gain exposure and referrals. Credentialed professionals and those who hold a current Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion appear directly on the IRS website in the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. 

The IRS directory puts your name in front of taxpayers searching for skilled professionals who can help them file their returns. Every visitor to the database is a qualified lead — a customer actively looking to purchase a service you provide.

You can also use your AFSP certification in your own marketing materials. That may be as simple as framing the certificate for your office or including your certification on your business card, website, social media, and other marketing materials. 

Earn the Ability to Represent Your Clients

AFSP certification bestows limited representation rights to tax preparers. Give your clients the peace of mind that comes from knowing you will be there to help them deal with revenue agents, customer service representatives, and other IRS employees. Dealing with the IRS can be scary for your clients, and holding a current Record of Completion lets you stand beside them as they deal with stressful IRS interactions.

If you are not a CPA, enrolled agent, or attorney, the Annual Filing Season Program is the only way to gain limited practice rights. Without an appropriate AFSP certificate, you can’t represent your clients before the IRS at all. That can erode trust, damage your customer retention rate, lead to unsatisfied clients, and even cost you negative reviews (either online or by word of mouth).

Distinguish Yourself from Other Tax Preparers

Trust is a key ingredient of the positive client-preparer relationship. When a client sees an AFSP Record of Completion, they have one more reason to trust you as a knowledgeable tax professional. 

The IRS reports that there are more than 770,000 individuals with current Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) as of September 2023. If you strip out all the attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents, that means there are over 480,000 non-credentialed tax preparers in the United States.

Less than 8% of all preparers (credentialed and non-credentialed) hold a 2023 Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion. By earning your certificate, you join a select group that sets you apart from the vast majority of your colleagues.

The program requires a current PTIN, a commitment to the standards of section 10.51 and Subpart B of Treasury Department Circular 230, and 18 hours of a mix of approved continuing education credits (15 for certain exempt preparers). Your AFSP certificate demonstrates your diligence as a tax professional and your commitment to keeping up with an ever-changing body of filing requirements.

What better way to distinguish yourself than with an official vote of confidence from the IRS?

Keep Informed on Changing Tax Law

U.S. tax law changes every year. Sometimes the tax code changes a lot all at once, and sometimes there are small adjustments. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) can be found in Title 26 of the United States Code. Similarly, Treasury Regulations can be found in Title 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations. 

And that’s just the start of the important tax guidance available. Keeping track of changes to every facet of new tax regulations all by yourself would be a nightmare.

Fortunately, the Annual Filing Season Program helps you keep abreast of changes through the continuing education requirement. Tax preparers who want to pursue AFSP certification must satisfy the following CE requirements:

  • 6 hours of the Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course (exempt individuals can substitute 3 hours on federal tax law updates)
    • Enrolled agents are unable to receive credit from the AFTR course
  • 10 hours on federal tax law
  • 2 hours on ethics


TaxCE is an IRS-approved provider of online continuing education for the AFSP. We can help you complete all the required training necessary to earn your AFSP Record of Completion. Every one of our tax education courses can be completed 100% online from any internet-connected device. Study tax code changes at your pace and stay abreast of industry changes while earning credit toward your AFSP certification at home!

You don’t even have to worry about reporting your course completion to the IRS. We report your finished courses to the IRS under your PTIN within five business days. It has never been easier to satisfy IRS training requirements for the Annual Filing Season Program online. Get started today with an online AFSP course and reap the benefits of AFSP certification.


The Internal Revenue Service. (2023, February 14). Annual Filing Season Program. Retrieved from

The Internal Revenue Service. (2023, September 6). Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. Retrieved from

The Internal Revenue Service. (2023, April 25). Understanding Tax Return Preparer Credentials and Qualifications. Retrieved from

The Internal Revenue Service. (2023, September 6). Return Preparer Office Federal Tax Return Preparer Statistics. Retrieved from

The Internal Revenue Service. (2014, June 12). Treasury Department Circular No. 230. Retrieved from

The Internal Revenue Service. (2023, June 29). Reduced Requirements for Exempt Individuals. Retrieved from

The Internal Revenue Service. (2023, January 18). Tax Code, Regulations, and Official Guidance. Retrieved from

United States House of Representatives Office of Law Revision Counsel. (1986, October 22). United States Code, Title 26 — Internal Revenue Code. Retrieved from

United States Department of the Treasury. (2023, August 29). Code of Federal Regulations, Title 26 — Internal Revenue. Retrieved from