Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) Course

Full online video-based course with no books to read. Simply press play.


Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) Course

$ 14
  • For unenrolled tax preparers who already meet the requirements of 2 hours of tax ethics and 10 hours of federal tax law.
  • 6 hour IRS Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course Only
  • Online Access 24/7
  • No books to read just press play.

What is the Annual Federal Tax Refresher?

The Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course is a 6 hour course in length that is accompanied with a 3 hour long comprehensive 100 question exam. The AFTR is required for non-exempt tax preparers that wish to participate in the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). Participants in the 2019 AFTR must complete the course & exam by December 31st. Click here to see if you’re exempt from taking the AFTR.

Domains covered in the 2019 Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course:

Domain 1 – Provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)

Domain 2 – General Review

Domain 3 – Practices, Procedures, and Professional Responsibility

Why participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program?

The Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) is a voluntary program that recognizes the efforts of tax preparers who are not attorneys, CPAs (certified public accountants), or enrolled agents. If you are an unenrolled tax return preparer you must complete the 6 hour IRS Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course (AFTR) along with your CE to receive an AFSP record of completion.

Benefits of obtaining an AFSP Record of Completion

Gain limited representation rights, meaning you can represent clients during the process of preparing and signing their return. 

Appear in the public database when taxpayers searches for qualified tax preparers within the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers.

Differentiate yourself from others in the marketplace through expertise by displaying your Record of Completion.

What are the requirements to obtain an AFSP - Record of Completion?

Are you exempt from the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course?

Certain tax return preparers are exempt from the AFTR course requirement because they completed state/national competency tests. Although if you’re exempted you can still earn a Record of Completion for the Annual Filing Season Program. Below is a chart explaining who is exempted.

  • Registered Tax Return Preparers (RTRP)
  • Oregon/California and other state based return preparer testing programs
  • Accredited Tax Preparers through Accreditation Council for Accountancy/Taxation
  • Part 1 of the Special Enrollment Exam during 2 year eligibility window
  • Successful VITA program reviewers and instructors
Tax Preparer Category AFSP Status
PTIN Holder Non-Exempt
Enrolled Agent Exempt
*Note: If an Enrolled Agent opts to take an AFTR course, they will not receive credit toward their Enrolled Agent CE requirements
Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) Exempt as long as preparer holds current credential
Enrolled Actuary Exempt
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exempt as long as preparer holds current credential
Attorney Exempt as long as preparer holds current credential
Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Non-Exempt
Supervised Preparer Non-Exempt
Non-1040 Preparer Non-Exempt
Unenrolled Return Preparers Non-Exempt
Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) Exempt for preparers who passed the RTRP test administered by the IRS from Nov. 2011 - Jan. 2013.
CTEC Registered Tax Preparer (CRTP) Exempt for Return preparers who are currently registered with CTEC
Oregon Licensed Tax Preparer (OBTP) Exempt for Return preparers who are currently registered with Oregon
Maryland Licensed Individual Tax Preparer Exempt for Return preparers who have passed the Maryland examination and are registered with Maryland by 12/31
New York Registered Tax Preparer Non-Exempt

Frequently Asked Questions:
Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course

Does the IRS administer the comprehension test given at the end of the Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course?

No, the IRS does not administer the comprehension test. IRS-approved Continuing Education Providers offer the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course and are responsible for the development and administration of the comprehension test associated with the AFTR course. The IRS does provide a course outline and test parameters which must be followed by providers. 

How do I find a provider offering the AFTR course?

The IRS provides a complete listing of all IRS-approved Continuing Education Providers. Refer to the Annual Federal Tax Refresher column under Program Categories Offered for providers who offer the AFTR course.

What does the AFTR course cover?

The Annual Federal Tax Refresher course will cover tax law topics across three domains: New Tax Law/Recent Updates, General Review, and Practices, Procedures and Professional Responsibility. The IRS will publish course content guidelines annually for IRS-approved CE Providers. It is the responsibility of CE Providers to ensure all course content is covered in the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course.

What does the AFTR test cover? What is the format and how long is it?

The AFTR Course comprehension test will include all tax law topics covered in the AFTR course. Each AFTR test includes 100 questions that assess a return preparer’s comprehension of each of the three domains on the AFTR course outline. Each AFTR test consists of only multiple choice questions with four potential answers and only one correct answer. Participants have a maximum of 3 hours to complete the exam. Refer to the test parameters published by the IRS for more information.

What if I take the course but do not pass the test?

The course has not been satisfactorily completed until the comprehension test is passed.  CE Providers will not provide course completion information to the IRS until you pass the ATFR exam. Your provider’s policy will determine whether you must re-take the course or just the course exam.

Is there a deadline for taking the AFTR course? For obtaining a Record of Completion?

To be eligible for an AFSP – Record of Completion, a return preparer must complete and pass the AFTR course and obtain their other CE by December 31 prior to the start of the tax season. As AFTR courses are offered by CE providers, return preparers are subject to the schedule of courses offered by these providers.

In no circumstance will the AFSP – Record of Completion be issued before a return preparer has registered or renewed their PTIN for the upcoming year.

Do I need a PTIN to take the AFTR course and related comprehension test?

Yes, to obtain credit for the course and enable the CE provider to report your course completion to the IRS, you must have a PTIN.

How long will it take to complete the AFTR course and test?

An AFTR course is 6 hours in length, regardless of the delivery method (online, in-person, self-study).

The related comprehension test will take a maximum of three continuous hours. 

What is the cost of the AFTR course and test?

Check our pricing above.

Can I take the test without completing the AFTR course?

No. You must complete the course before taking the test.

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