The IRS is stepping up its efforts to promote the voluntary Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) today as it begins to send informational emails to approximately 390,000 tax return preparers regarding the new program.
The email targets all uncredentialed return preparers with an active PTIN, and encourages them to review the purpose and requirements, and consider participating in the program. (Uncredentialed means the person has none of the following credentials: attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, and enrolled actuary.) Preparers are reminded that receiving an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion means they will be included in a public directory to be made available on the IRS website in January 2015. The "Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications" will contain the name, city, state and zip code of the following tax return preparers:
- certified public accountants (CPAs),
- enrolled agents (EAs),
- enrolled retirement plan agents (ERPAs),
- enrolled actuaries, and
- AFSP Record of Completion holders.
In addition, preparers are reminded that beginning in 2016, AFSP Record of Completion holders will have limited representation rights, meaning they can represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before examination, customer service representatives, and the Taxpayer Advocate Service. In contrast, those uncredentialed preparers who choose not to obtain a Record of Completion will not have any representation rights before the IRS.
Preparers are encouraged to consider becoming enrolled agents if they are interested in unlimited practice rights.
The email closes with a couple links to websites for more information, and a final note regarding the process of obtaining information about exemptions from the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course (AFTR). Once the IRS obtains this information from the targeted sources, it will send a separate email to all PTIN holders who are identified as meeting an exemption.