IRS’ Annual Filing Season Program offers professional development for non-credentialed tax preparers

IRS Tax Tip 2022-177, November 17, 2022

Any non-credentialed tax return preparers who want to increase their knowledge and improve their filing season readiness should consider the IRS' Annual Filing Season Program. This voluntary program is intended to encourage non-credentialed tax return preparers to take continuing education courses to further their professional knowledge.

By December 31, 2022, those who choose to participate must:

After completing the steps, the tax return preparer receives an Annual Filing Season Program - Record of Completion from the IRS. They can use this to help differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Program participants are also included in a public directory of return preparers with credentials and select qualifications on the IRS website.

The searchable IRS directory helps taxpayers find preparers in their area who are participating in this program or hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS.

Tax pros can also pursue an enrolled agent credential

As non-credentialed return preparers think about next steps in their professional career, they can consider becoming an enrolled agent.

The enrolled agent credential is an elite certification issued by the IRS to tax professionals who demonstrate special competence in federal tax planning, individual and business tax return preparation and representation matters. Enrolled agents have unlimited representation rights, allowing them to represent any client before the IRS on any tax matter.

Here are the steps to become an enrolled agent:

  1. Obtain or renew a PTIN 
  2. Apply to take the Special Enrollment Examination
  3. Achieve passing scores on all three parts of the SEE
  4. Apply for enrollment
  5. Pass a suitability check, including tax compliance and criminal background

Individuals who obtain this rigorous credential must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years.

More information:

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