What Should I Study To Become A Tax Accounting Professional Or Tax Preparer?


A tax preparer is someone who makes the calculation, filing, and signing of income tax returns on behalf of businesses and individuals. Tax preparers may also serve as a representative of taxpayers during the examination of tax returns by the IRS. If you are planning to soon become a tax preparer, here are the things you should know about the path you should take to getting this career.

Education Overview

No stringent educational requirements are actually set for those who want to become a tax preparer. Nevertheless, applicants must have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. You may also find some employers who give on-the-job-training to their potential employees, while other companies prefer those applicants with postsecondary training. Certificate courses are also made available by several universities and community colleges. Finally, there are many professional organizations that also offer training programs for aspiring tax preparers.

Requirements for Registration

All paid tax preparers are required by the IRS or Internal Revenue Service to apply first for registration. It is a must for any tax preparation professional to get their own PTIN or Preparer Tax Identification Number. This PTIN should appear on all the tax returns that the tax preparer signs. On the other hand, those preparers who are not qualified to sign tax returns are under the supervision of certified public accountants, enrolled agent, or a lawyer to do the practice.

There was a change in the policy in 2011 when the IRS made an announcement that it would set a qualifying score on a competency test in order for any aspiring tax preparer to get a PTIN. In addition, the department started requiring professional tax preparers to take continuing education courses to keep their identification numbers.

Certification Overview

Although a tax preparer is not required to get any certification from the ACAT, having this certification simply shows the expertise of a tax preparer in terms of tax codes and regulations. What this means is that those with such certification are very likely to have more opportunities to get great employment. The ATP or Accredited Tax Preparer credential can be obtained by any professional by simply passing an ATP test.

When it comes to the requirements to be allowed to take the ATP exam, applicants need to have no less than 3 years of experience in tax preparation. According to the ACAT, one tax season, January to April, is equal to one year of experience.

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