Career Advice

How to Become a Tax Preparer in 5 Simple Steps

Local Job Stars 18 October, 2023

Are you ready to jumpstart your career in the world of taxes? If you're looking for a job with a flexible schedule and good earning potential, then becoming a tax preparer might just be the perfect opportunity for you. Don't know where to start? No worries! In this article, we'll go through the steps you need to take to become a tax preparer and get you on your way to a fulfilling career.

Step 1: Obtain an Education

You don't necessarily need a college degree to become a tax preparer, but you will need to complete some form of education to be licensed by the IRS. This can range from a two-year Associate's degree in Accounting to completing an IRS-sponsored training course. You'll need to learn tax laws, accounting principles, and different software programs used in tax preparation.

Step 2: Get a PTIN

A PTIN stands for Preparer Tax Identification Number and it's required by the IRS for anyone who prepares tax returns professionally. You can apply for a PTIN on the IRS website and receive your number within a few weeks.

Step 3: Gain Experience

While it's not a requirement, gaining work experience in a tax preparation firm or volunteering as a tax preparer will give you a better understanding of tax laws and customer service. Many tax preparation firms offer seasonal employment, making it a good part-time job for those looking to gain experience.

Step 4: Obtain a License

Depending on the state you live in, you may need to obtain a license to prepare tax returns professionally. Some states have their own licensing requirements, while others recognize the IRS's Enrolled Agent (EA) designation. EAs are licensed by the IRS and can prepare tax returns in all 50 states.

Step 5: Continuing Education

Once you've obtained your license and become a tax preparer, you'll need to stay up-to-date on tax laws and regulations by taking continuing education courses. Many states require specific courses every year to maintain your license.

Becoming a tax preparer can be a great career move for those looking for a flexible schedule and good earning potential. While it does require some education and licensing, the steps are straightforward and can be accomplished relatively quickly. By following these five steps, you'll be on your way to a fulfilling career as a tax preparer in no time.