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IRS Tax Continuing Education Requirements

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Current Catalog:

IRS Tax Preparer Education Requirements

IRS Provider Number: RPBX8

About the voluntary Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP)

To recognize PTIN holders who pursue greater professionalism, the IRS established the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). Upon completion, participants receive an AFSP - Record of Completion (AFSP - RoC). Those who earn their AFSP - RoC also gain limited representation rights, enabling them to represent clients, whose returns they signed, before IRS agents, customer service representatives, and the Taxpayer Advocate Service in the years they maintain their RoC. More Information about these representation rights are detailed here.

What are the Tax Continuing Education requirements for IRS?

Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Non-Exempt Preparers

18 hours total

Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Exempt Preparers

15 hours total

See the IRS' Annual Filing Season CE Chart for additional information.

Are there any subject area requirements for IRS Tax CE/CPE?

Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Non-Exempt Preparers

  • Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course: 6 CE hours - Per IRS regulations course is available June 1 - December 31.
  • Ethics: 2 CE hours (excess Ethics credits will not be applied to cover any other subject areas)
  • Federal Tax Topics: 10 CE hours

Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Exempt Preparers

  • Federal Tax Law Updates: 3 CE hours (excess Law Updates credits will be applied to cover the Tax Topics subject area)
  • Ethics: 2 CE hours (excess Ethics credits will not be applied to cover any other subject areas)
  • Federal Tax Topics: 10 CE hours

When does IRS Tax CE/CPE have to be completed?

12/31 annually

Can Tax CE/CPE courses be repeated?

Courses cannot be taken for credit more than once in a reporting period.

Can Tax CE/CPE course hours carry over to the next renewal cycle?

Excess hours earned in a CE cycle may not be carried forward to a subsequent CE cycle.

What is the IRS Tax Preparer renewal process?

Obtaining or Renewing the AFSP-RoC

  1. Complete all of the CE required by 11:59 pm, December 31st.
  2. Renew your PTIN
    Tax Preparers who prepare taxes for profit must renew their PTIN between October 16 – December 31 each year.
  3. Consent to the obligation in Circular 230 through your PTIN online account.*
*Once you have completed the required CE and renewed your PTIN for the following year, [email protected] will send you instructions on how to consent to the Circular 230 requirements. Qualifying participants will not receive AFSP-RoC until consent is given.

Upon completion, the IRS will notify the tax preparer that their RoC is available in their PTIN mailbox.
Tax Preparers without an online PTIN account will receive a letter from the IRS with instructions for completing the application process and obtaining the certificate.

What are the WebCE IRS Tax CE/CPE course requirements?

  • WebCE courses are online IRS-approved pre-approved self-study courses with non-monitored open-book final exams. Students should read through course material then complete exam.
  • Passing score: 70%
  • If the final exam is not passed on the first attempt, students have an unlimited number of retakes.

What is the access period for WebCE IRS Tax CE/CPE courses?

12 months from the original date of purchase

Important Note: Per IRS regulations, the 6-hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher course will only be available for completion from 6/1 to 12/31 every year.

How often does WebCE report IRS Tax CE/CPE course completions?

WebCE reports course completions to IRS PTIN accounts electronically every business day. You can view your CE completions by logging into your PTIN account.

Does WebCE supply a certificate of completion for IRS Tax CE/CPE courses?

Online PDF certificates of completion are available to print immediately after the final exam is passed. Tax Preparers should keep all certificates of completion for a minimum of 4 years for auditing purposes.

Are there any CE/CPE exemptions?

The following individuals qualify for the AFSP-RoC as an exempt preparer:

  • Those who passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) test
  • Those individuals who uphold the regulations set by state standards: CTEC, MD Board of Tax Preparers, and OBTP
  • Those who have passed the Special Enrollment (EA) Exam Part 1 in the last 3 years
  • VITA Quality Reviewers and Instructors with active PTIN
  • Other accredited tax-focused credential-holders: like those set by Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT)
  • CPAs, Attorneys, and Enrolled Agents*

*If an Enrolled Agent takes the AFTR course, it may show in their PTIN account but will not count toward their CE requirements.

See the IRS' Annual Filing Season CE Chart for additional information.

Who to contact for additional questions

IRS Office of Professional Responsibility

This information is based on state laws and regulations and is subject to change. WebCE makes every effort to make sure this information is current and accurate, however, WebCE is not engaged in rendering legal or professional advice and shall not be held responsible for inaccuracies contained herein. We urge you to check with your licensing regulator for complete and current information about its licensing rules and requirements.
Last updated on 5/10/2024