ANNUAL FILING SEASON PROGRAM UPDATE

NSTPAnnual Filing Season Program (AFSP), Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

To encourage non-credentialed return preparers to participate in the Annual Filing Season Program, the IRS is sending emails to about 5,000 people this week who are within 3 hours or less of having enough continuing education (CE) to participate for 2018. They must get the remaining CE by December 31. There are two versions of the email depending on whether the preparer is in the 15 or 18 hours category. Following is a sample of the email. In addition, there are a significant number of preparers who have obtained enough CE to participate, but who have not completed their Circular 230 consent in order to officially participate and receive the Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion. IRS sends a monthly email reminding them to take this step. Even though CE is due by December 31, 2017, preparers have until April 18, 2017, to sign the consent. Our records indicate you need three or less hours of continuing education by December 31, 2017, to be eligible for the Internal Revenue Service’s 2018 Annual Filing Season Program. Don’t miss the deadline!  You must have a total of 15 hours of continuing education from IRS-Approved CE Providers in the following categories to participate in the 2018 … Read More

Message form Carol A. Campbell, Director, IRS Return Preparer Office

NSTPAnnual Filing Season Program (AFSP)

DEAR TAX RETURN PREPARER, Set yourself APART! Participate in the Annual Filing Season Program. The voluntary program is for non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism. The Annual Filing Season Program promotes the importance of education and filing season preparation for return preparers without professional credentials. We encourage you to take time to review the requirements and consider participating for the upcoming 2017 filing season. Why should you participate? Many of you already take continuing education (CE) courses, so participating in the Annual Filing Season Program won’t require a major adjustment for you. You need either 15 or 18 hours of continuing education in specific categories and you must complete them by December 31, 2016. Also, you must take the courses from IRS-approved CE providers. By participating in the program and receiving an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion, you will be included in the IRS’s public directory of tax return preparers. The “Directory of Federal Tax Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications” is a searchable database that includes the names, city, state, zip code, and credentials of all current year Annual Filing Season Program participants, enrolled agents, attorneys, CPAs, enrolled retirement plan agents and … Read More

AICPA APPEALS DECISION TO PRESERVE IRS PROGRAM FOR TAX PREPARERS

NSTPAmerican Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), RTRP, Taxpayer

In early August, the DC District Court ruled in favor of the IRS in the lawsuit filed by the AICPA to discontinue the Annual Filing Season Program –  AICPA v IRS. As you may recall, the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) is the IRS program that now allows preparers to opt in, with the benefit that those who sign on appear in an online searchable database of preparers. The AFSP also imposes a cost to those who do not opt in; they are not permitted to engage in limited representation of the clients whose returns the IRS audits.   The American Institute of CPAs is now appealing the court decision that upheld the Internal Revenue Service’s voluntary program for tax preparer education and testing.   The IRS introduced the Annual Filing Season Program in 2014 after the federal courts invalidated a mandatory program it had instituted requiring all tax preparers to be tested and undergo continuing education. The AICPA filed suit to challenge the voluntary program, but the lawsuit was dismissed by the same federal judge, James Boasberg, who had invalidated the IRS’s earlier Registered Tax Return Preparer program in 2013 in the case of Loving v. IRS. He said … Read More

IRS Seeks Volunteers for Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Voluntary Program

The Internal Revenue Service seeks civic-minded volunteers to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a federal advisory committee that listens to taxpayers, identifies major taxpayer concerns and makes recommendations for improving IRS service. The TAP provides a forum for taxpayers to raise concerns about IRS service and offer suggestions for improvement. The TAP reports annually to the Secretary of the Treasury, IRS Commissioner and National Taxpayer Advocate. The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate is an independent organization within the IRS that provides support for and oversight of the TAP. The TAP includes members from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, in addition to one member abroad representing international taxpayers. Each member is appointed to represent the interests of taxpayers in his or her geographic location as well as taxpayers as a whole. To be a member of the TAP, a person must be a U.S. citizen, be current with your federal tax obligations, be able to commit 200 to 300 volunteer hours during the year, and pass a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background check. New TAP members will serve a three-year term starting in December 2015. Applicants chosen as alternate members will be considered to … Read More

Federal Judge Dismisses AICPA Lawsuit Against The IRS

NSTPAmerican Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Voluntary Program

The AICPA had filed a lawsuit in July 2014 alleging that the new Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) harmed their members because they hired individuals who would be injured by the additional burden of the AFSP, it would create an additional burden for the firms as they would need to take additional steps to be sure their employees complied with Circular 230, and that their members would be harmed because the program would confuse the American taxpayer. The District Court determined that the AICPA did not have the standing to challenge the voluntary program as none of their members had suffered any harm due to the AFSP.  The court dismissed the AICPA lawsuit against the IRS. For a party to have standing to bring an action: (1) the party must have suffered an injury in fact; (2) there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of; and (3) it must be likely that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision. If any of these three prongs is deficient, the plaintiff will not have standing to sue. The AICPA claimed injury, not to itself, but to its members. Therefore, it was required to establish … Read More