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Becoming a Tax Preparer

Whether you’re filing your own tax return or getting it done by a professional, the process can be confusing. A tax preparer can help you navigate through the intricacies of tax laws and regulations, as well as determine your eligibility for various deductions and credits.

Becoming a tax preparer is a career that requires specialized skills and knowledge of the US Tax Code. Those with this career also need to be familiar with tax software and have strong critical thinking abilities to provide accurate tax returns for their clients.

The IRS has an online directory of registered tax preparers, including those with PTINs and IRS-recognized credentials. This list is updated frequently, so be sure to check it regularly.
Credentials and Experience

The level of credentials a tax preparer has plays an important role in their fee structure. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and Enrolled Agents, for example, typically charge more than other preparers. However, their expertise is broader and they’re allowed to represent their clients before the IRS.

Qualifications for a tax preparation job include a bachelor’s degree in accounting or another related field and experience preparing taxes. Earning an associate or bachelor’s degree is common for entry-level positions, while a master’s degree can open up higher-paying positions.

Obtaining a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and representation rights from the IRS is another requirement for paid tax preparers. Those with this credential have passed a suitability check and are issued a unique number that identifies them as tax professionals.

There are a few ways to become a tax preparer: You can earn a college degree in accounting or a related field, or you can get a professional certificate from an accredited tax school. You can also start out as a volunteer with an IRS-approved tax preparation program.

Becoming a professional is a challenging and time-consuming process, but it can be well worth the effort. The pay is usually very good and the industry offers many opportunities for advancement.

The right software can make the process go smoothly and save you money. A good program will include features like automatic form import and error correction, as well as customizable templates.

If you have a complicated tax situation, it might be best to use a full-service, high-end tax preparation service. Companies that do this type of work have extensive experience and can offer top-notch customer support.

TurboTax is a popular and easy-to-use online tax prep solution for both individual and business filers. Its pricing is competitive with other options, and its digital tax experience is seamless and intuitive.

H&R Block is also a popular option for those with more complex returns and who want a high-end experience. Its support is excellent and it allows you to import previous years’ returns, so you don’t have to start from scratch each year.

EY TaxChat, powered by Ernst & Young, offers a professional tax filing experience. Its extensive business expertise makes it ideal for self-employed tax filers and small-business owners.

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