How do you become a tax preparer?


Quick Answer

The requirements to become a tax preparer are a high school diploma, completion of a tax-training program, registration with the state and obtaining a Preparer Tax Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service. Tax preparers need strong abilities in math, computer science and customer service. Technical colleges, vocational schools and tax franchises offer tax-training programs in which students learn about W-2 and 1040 forms, electronic filing, dividends and exemptions.

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Full Answer

Registration requirements vary by state. Typically, a tax preparer must complete a number of coursework hours specified by the individual state and carry liability insurance. Some states have continuing-education requirements. The IRS has required tax preparers to obtain a PTIN since 2011. Qualifying for a PTIN requires passing an exam and fulfilling continuing-education requirements. The PTIN allows the IRS to track tax preparers and spot patterns indicative of fraud. Experienced tax preparers can take the IRS' Special Enrollment Exam, which allows the preparer to represent clients at audits and tax investigations. A tax preparer's job duties include organizing and filing various types of taxes required by the IRS. She also examines receipts and financial documents and interviews clients regarding exemption eligibility. Tax preparers are required to follow all tax codes, regulations and rules set by the IRS.

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