Friday, December 4, 2015

AFSP - Annual Filing Season Program: What You May Not Know

William Delaney, EA
Westwood, MA
If you are not an attorney, a CPA or an EA, your representation rights are limited to participation in an audit or examination of a return which you have prepared, and such rights do not extend to the appeal level.  When developing the Voluntary Annual Filing Season Program, the IRS decided that participation in this voluntary program would allow an unenrolled preparer to continue to enjoy these limited representation rights.  However, those who opt out of participation will no longer be allowed any representation rights after December 31, 2015.  What does this mean…

Communication with the IRS regarding an audit or examination of a return which I have prepared – PROHIBITED.

Not only does this shut you out, it shuts “them” out, since the IRS auditor no longer has access to the person who prepared the return.  The auditor must deal with the taxpayer only, unless the taxpayer has secured the services of a licensee who has representation rights.

So, how “voluntary” is a program which shuts you out if you do not voluntarily participate in the program?  It may make sense to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to shut off access to a valuable resource (the tax return preparer), but it makes no sense at all to your Editor.  However, that’s the road which they have taken.

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