A simple cost-benefit assessment will tell you that tax preparer certification is well worth the little investment of time and practice necessary to become an instructor. Certified tax preparer special emphasis on training our students typically involves grueling hours of training, classroom study and repetitive exams to train a person to prepare his or her own tax return. It requires years of experience working as a professional tax preparer and years of education to master the art and science of tax preparation. It also requires that a person have basic accounting skills and some basic computer skills.
All of these requirements make it difficult for many people to pursue this career. Because of the overwhelming number of people who try to become tax preparers, there are numerous certifications for tax preparers that vary from state to state. There are several important pieces of information that prospective instructors must know before enrolling in a program: the name of the tax preparer organization that he or she will become affiliated with; the name of the state or local tax agency that the preparer will represent; and the name of the accountant that will perform the accountant's services on behalf of the client. It is usually required that preparers take an approved course in preparation of the necessary documents.
The most convenient way to find tax preparer courses is to use the Internet. Many online tax preparer certification and training courses are offered by experienced certified public accountants. They charge a reasonable fee for their training courses and there are no obligations to take the course if you decide not to pursue it. Students will be provided with a variety of resources to help them find suitable training courses and will be able to apply for grants from the local, state or federal governments if available.
Another method to locate tax preparer training courses and programs is to contact the local, state or federal tax offices. Many tax professionals work directly with the IRS. Therefore, it may not be necessary or beneficial to enroll in a formal tax professional certification program before working with the IRS directly. However, most tax professionals do benefit from taking one or more tax courses before beginning employment with an IRS service. Many times, individuals who find it difficult to comply with the requirements of the IRS will benefit from taking one or more tax courses and passing an examination for Chartered Tax Professional Certificate Program (CTCP).
Individuals who have already earned their CTCP will need to complete four or more hours of continuing education in tax preparation before being promoted to a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Individuals who are hired as a Certified Public Accountant must complete two years of public Universal Accounting Schools education and pass the two-year exam. In order to be hired as a CPA, CPAs must pass the CPA exam and then be re-certified every two years. In order to re-certify, CPAs must complete six or more hours of continuing education each year.
Taxpayers can obtain an online test that tests their knowledge of tax laws. Individuals who pass this exam and wish to become certified financial planners can take the exam again at a Test Prep company of their choice. Many individuals who pass the initial exam, become CPA's with the IRS after completing the coursework required by the test. In order to qualify, CPAs must file an application, pay the necessary fee and pass the CPA exam.