The tax certification process has always been complicated. In 2012, the IRS changed their system to require a grueling test for all potential tax preparers. After a court case, the IRS reverted their system and refunded those, like myself, who had already taken the test. As an interim measure, the IRS introduced their Annual Filing Season Program, which "is intended to recognize and encourage unenrolled tax return preparers who voluntarily increase their knowledge and improve their filing season competency through continuing education (CE)" (IRS website). I passed the RTRP test, thus requiring only fifteen continuing education credits per year to remain AFSP certified. My AFSP certification is up-to-date. I can provide proof of credentials if necessary.
Bonnie and I enjoy our tax conferences, webinars, and online courses that boost our knowledge of the tax system. We also remain current on tax preparation software and the ethics test that allows clients to pay for their services by having it taken out of their federal refund. Because of numerous clients located in the state of New York, I am also certified to file taxes there. As of now I know of no other states to have special requirements. I filed in fourteen different states last season.