December 31st of this year is the last day tax preparers can complete the continuing education (CE) requirements for a new voluntary IRS program intended to help taxpayers determine 2015 return preparer qualifications.
According to the press release, “The AFSP Record of Completion allows uncredentialed return preparers who complete required CE to be included in a new Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications scheduled to launch on the IRS website in early 2015.”
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen explains, “This will be part of a wider effort at the IRS to help taxpayers understand the options available if they need help with their taxes during the upcoming filing season.”
For the 2015 tax year the AFSP usually requires tax return preparers to complete 11 hours of continuing education (CE) credit, including a six-hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher course, three-hours of federal tax law topics, and a two-hour ethics course, all of which much be earned from an IRS-approved CE provider (Universal is an IRS-approved continuing education provider). Specific requirements are detailed on the official IRS website.
Return preparers who have earned credentials as attorneys, certified public accountants and enrolled agents do not need to meet these particular requirements as they have higher levels of qualification and practice rights, including unlimited representation rights before the IRS for clients on any tax matter.
In order to acquire their AFSP record of completion, a return preparer must consent to the duties and restrictions relating to practice before the IRS as noted in subpart B and section 10.51 of Treasury Department Circular No. 230. They must also renew their preparer tax identification number (PTIN), complete their CE credits and receive notice from the IRS that they are eligible to log into their online PTIN account. Only then will they be allowed to print their AFSP record of completion.
Universal Accounting Helps Tax Preparers Succeed
At Universal, we also believe it’s important to prepare for the future, and we’re interested in seeing your future success as a tax preparer. Our Professional Tax Preparer Program is IRS-approved and designed to help professionals like you master tax preparation, becoming efficient in the completion of individual and business returns. If you would like to learn more, visit Universal for a free video today!
–. “Deadline Nears for Return Preparers to Qualify for New IRS Program.” 9 December 2014 IRS.gov