How to Become a Certified Tax Preparer


Becoming a tax preparer is a good way to supplement income during tax season. Most tax preparers must work under the guidance of a Certified Public Accountant, licensed tax consultant or attorney who prepares tax returns. The main job of a tax preparer is to prepare both federal and state returns for individuals or small entities; it will be up to you to determine the right net income to report to the IRS. Each state has different requirements for licensing, but there are some basic shared steps.

Things You'll Need

  • High school diploma or passed equivalency examination
  • Research your state's specific requirements; requirements differ from state to state. Basic requirements are a high school diploma, minimum age of 18 and completion of a tax-preparation program for training credit. Classes are usually around 80 hours of training, which you can take at community colleges, vocational schools or approved sponsors.

  • Take a certified tax-preparation program. Most programs require no experience and take a few months. You can also take some classes online.

  • Sign up for income tax courses for your certification. Subjects include tax theory, tax topics, chart of accounts, general ledger, changes in tax law and how to talk to clients.

  • Register with your state. A Certificate of Completion for Coursework must be submitted along with your license application. After requirements are met, you will be able to register as a tax preparer. Renewals consist of continuing and maintaining education requirements.

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