The Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) is the “testing portion” of the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) credential.
This AFSP program has been very confusing to a large number of tax professionals. So confusing has it been, in fact, that IRS reports that only 70% of people who complete the requirements to earn the credential actually end up with the credential. This is mostly due to misunderstanding the “extra steps” you need to take after you pass your AFTR course and test; people who don’t do those extra steps, don’t get the credential.
Let’s see if we can clear up that confusion of what to do after you pass your AFTR course / test in this blog post so that you can earn your Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) credential with ease and confidence.
AFTR Is Part of AFSP
First big note is that the AFTR course / test is part of the AFSP credential. The AFTR counts for 6 hours IRS continuing education. And then you still need additional hours (and to take additional actions) in order to finalize your AFSP credential.
First Step After You Pass AFTR Test
First thing that needs to happen after you pass the AFTR test is your education provider needs to report your hours to IRS. If you’re using Pronto Tax School for your AFTR course / test, give us 24 hours from passing your course to report your hours to IRS. Usually we report faster than that but we do request 24 hours, especially if we are processing heavy volume close to the deadline.
And then give IRS another 3-5 days for your hours to show up in your PTIN account.
Realize that as long as you’ve completed your course and passed the test by December 31, you have beaten the deadline. The deadline is to complete the AFTR course and pass the AFTR test. You will have a little more time after that to complete these other steps.
Do You Need More Hours?
The AFTR, again, is only part of earning the AFSP credential. The AFTR counts for 6 hours, then you need 2 hours Ethics, plus 10 hours Other Federal Tax Law to earn your full 18 hours necessary for the AFSP credential.
If you’ve invested in the Pronto Tax School AFSP Bundle, those other courses are already inside your dashboard. If you have completed other hours with a different education provider, you may want to look inside your PTIN account and make sure that those hours have been reported.
Please note that YOU are responsible for making sure that you have the 18 hours necessary to earn the AFSP credential.
Check a Box Inside Your PTIN Account
Once you see your hours reported within your PTIN account, you need to “check the box” inside your PTIN account and sign off indicating that you consent to be bound by the Circular 230 rules.
Note that you will only see this box appear in your PTIN account after your hours have been reported to IRS and credited by IRS. So making sure your hours are inside your PTIN account is a step before this step.
The IRS has provided a helpful video showing how to perform these final steps within your PTIN account. Please watch this video to see exactly what to do inside your PTIN account.
Get Your Record of Completion with IRS
Once you have “signed off” within your PTIN account on the Circular 203 rules, the IRS will issue you a “Record of Completion” showing your AFSP credential. This certificate will show up in the “inbox” section of your PTIN account.