How to Become a Licensed Tax Preparer in New York

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In the state of New York, the number of store front tax preparations for H&R Block was 8.2 percent lower in 2010 than it was at the same time the previous year in 2009, according to MSNBC. This must mean more people are preparing their own taxes, due to the recession and everyone trying to tighten the budget wherever they can. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be a licensed tax preparer in New York to prepare tax returns.

  • Talk to friends and family and decide if you want to prepare taxes independently for them or, if you want to get in with a tax company and prepare taxes that way. This will determine the path you take in becoming a tax preparer. If you prepare taxes for yourself and people independently, you can pave your own road. If you want to work for a tax company, you will need to follow the requirements and certifications they have set up for their tax preparers.

  • Enroll in tax courses in New York. Look into available classes at junior colleges, community colleges, technical colleges and anywhere else that you can. Learn everything you can about tax preparation and the process.

  • Enroll in accounting classes at the local junior college or through a university in your town in New York. Accounting classes are closely related to tax preparation and will provide you with valuable information.

    Take a basic tax preparation course. This will familiarize you with specific information such as amendments and tax credits specific to the state of New York and relevant to the current year, as well as working with W-2s, and Forms 1099 and 1040.

  • Take the basic Internal Revenue Service (IRS) certification exam. If you want to work for a company, this is important to take and pass. If you want to prepare taxes for people independently, passing this test would increase the confidence of everyone involved.

  • The New York Department of Taxation and Finance website (tax.state.ny.us) will literally answer any question you have in regards to becoming a tax preparer.

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