How to Become a Tax Preparer

Tax Preparers are professionals who are experienced in preparing, completing and submitting tax forms to federal and state governments on behalf of their clients.

These individuals may work for several types of organizations including accounting firms, law firms or tax preparation companies.

Individuals who want to become a Tax Preparer will need to fulfill some basic requirements and have some personal characteristics in order to enter this professions.

Tax Preparers must also have an in depth knowledge of the tax code in order to complete and file tax forms on behalf of their clients.

Education Requirements to Become a Tax Preparer

Individuals who want to become a Tax Preparer will need to have a minimum of a high school diploma, complete required training and register with the IRS in order to complete and file tax returns.

There are no specific guidelines in regards to having a certain level of education.

Some helpful skills to have include being detail oriented, have strong communications skills and basic mathematical skills.

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There are many different ways to become a Tax Preparer.

Certification programs may be offered by community colleges or universities.

These programs typically take under a year to complete and train individuals on the complexities of the tax code and its forms.

There are also professional organizations such as the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT) and the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) that offer training programs for individuals who want to become a Tax Preparer.

Tax Preparer Job Description

Tax Preparers are professionals who are experienced in preparing, submitting and proofing tax returns on behalf of their clients.

They will use their extensive knowledge of the tax code and their interpersonal skills in order to work face to face with clients while preparing tax returns to interview clients and enter their tax information into specialized software.

These individuals are typically hired during the tax season and may work for an accounting firm, a tax law firm or a tax servicing firm.

Tax Preparers must not only use their attention to detail to succeed in this profession but also be able to work in a fast paced or stressful environment submitting tax returns with little to no errors.

Some typical duties for Tax Preparers may include the following:

  • Review client statements and tax forms including W-2s or business expenses
  • Prepare a variety of tax returns from simple to complex for clients
  • Determine possible tax deductions or credits on client’s behalf
  • Determine whether a client has a tax liability or a refund
  • Calculate tax liability and review completed tax returns

Some Tax Preparers may complete tax returns with clients observing the process.

They will review the tax return with their clients, discuss whether there is a refund or tax liability and provide suggestions on potential tax deductions and tax liability for future returns.

Tax Preparer Salary and Career Path

The median wage for Tax Preparers was approximately $16.98 per hour or $35,310 per year.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including level of experience, industry, geographical location and whether an individual works on a part time or full time basis.

Individuals who work in Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll industries tend to earn higher wages at approximately $20.78 per hour.

Salary and wages will also depend on the whether someone works throughout the year or only during the tax season.

The job outlook for Tax Preparers and related professions is expected to grow at an average pace when compared to other professions.

Job opportunities are expected to grow by 10 percent through the year 2022.

Job growth in this field is attributed to the ever changing tax code and the demand for these specialized services.

Individuals interested in a career as a Tax Preparer can expect to use a variety of skills to perform well in this profession.

Individuals can look forward to using their analytical skills, attention to detail, basic math skills and interpersonal skills in order to work with clients and help them prepare their taxes.

Individuals who are bilingual or who have some postsecondary schooling will have the best job prospects in this field.

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