The first thing you will need is a solid foundation of tax knowledge. The Income Tax School offers tax courses online, 24/7 with instructor support. So you can get started right away!
After just one 60-hour Comprehensive Tax Course, you will be able to prepare tax returns for most individual U.S. taxpayers. This course also includes all the topics that were covered on the IRS basic competency exam to become a Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP). Currently, the IRS Tax Preparer Regulations have been suspended. Should the IRS Tax Preparer Regulations be reinstated or the RTRP program become voluntary, this course will prepare you for that exam.
This tax course can be completed in just weeks! If you want to be able to prepare tax returns for small businesses, then you will also want to take the 30-hour Small Business I Tax Course.
Next, you’ll want to learn the nuts and bolts about starting and running a tax business. Instead of reinventing the wheel, consider purchasing The Income Tax School’s Strategic Planning Retreat Webinars. These webinars will teach you many of the tax industry best practices., and are based on live Strategic Planning Retreats held in Richmond, VA. Many tax business owners attended these retreats – some just starting out, while others have been in the tax business for years.
- Tax Business Marketing Manual
- Tax Office Operations Manual
- Tax Business Personnel Manual
- Tax Business Expansion Manual
- Order them as a set and save!
Tax business start-up checklist
Here’s a small checklist to help you start your home-based tax business…
- Enroll in tax course (beginner and/or advanced tax courses)
- Read the New Rules for Federal Tax Return Preparers
- Purchase and read The Income Tax School’s Tax Practice Management Manuals
- Consider purchasing The Income Tax School’s Strategic Planning Retreat Webinars for Tax Business Owners
- Consider joining the Linkedin group: Tax Business Owners of America (TBOA)
- Consider joining the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP)
- Register with the IRS as a Tax Preparer – Get Your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)
- Apply for IRS Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN)so you can e-file tax returns. Before you can electronically file tax returns, you must apply to become an Authorized e-file provider with the IRS. This process is facilitated by the IRS in three phases:
- Phase 1: Create an IRS e-services Account – Before you can begin the application process, you must apply and be approved for an e-services account with the IRS. The IRS may take several days to verify and approve your information, so it is important to plan accordingly.
- Phase 2: Submit Your Application – After you are approved for e-services, you will be able to log into your account to fill out the online application to become an IRS e-file provider. Plan accordingly as it may take up to 45 days for the IRS to approve an Authorized e-file Provider application.
- Phase 3: Pass a Suitability Check – After you submit your application and any related documents, the IRS will conduct a suitability check on the firm and each person listed on your application as either a principal or responsible official. This may include: a credit check; a tax compliance check; a criminal background check; and a check for prior non-compliance with IRS e-file requirements. Once approved, you will get an acceptance letter from the IRS with your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).
- Order tax preparer software (see below for some low cost options)
Tax software options
Choosing professional tax preparation software will depend on what type of tax returns you will be preparing and what you can afford. You can choose anything from a simple pay-per-return package, to a basic tax software package that will enable you to prepare simple returns, to a very advanced tax program that will allow you to prepare all types of tax returns with many bells and whistles.
Here are 4 Low Cost Options for Professional Tax Preparation Software (based on 2009 tax season pricing):
- Intuit Tax Online Pro- All- Inclusive pricing includes all major returns and forms. With all-inclusive pricing and unparalleled reliability, it is a powerful tax software at a practical price. Covers all States, Federal, extensions and e-file payments. $14.99 per individual return ( 20 to 50 returns), $24.90 per business return (10-20). Includes a Smartphone and tablet companion application and a Client Status Dashboard. Learn More Now
- TaxWise Pay-Per-Return – For the tax professional who prepares only a few returns during the season. With TaxWise Pay-Per-Return, you gain access to the complete line of TaxWise Federal and State 1040, business and specialty forms as well as secure and efficient e-filing. And with Pay-Per-Return you will receive the same service and support that comes with every TaxWise package. Pricing starts at only $529. (Includes $229 annual license, plus tax preparation and e-filing of 15 tax returns. Cost per return, excluding the license fee is $20 for both federal and state.)
Learn More Now
- ProSeries Professional Pay-Per-Return- 20 built-in time-saving features like automated data entry of 1099s, W-2s, stock transactions and QuickBooks data reduces tedious manual input. Voted among the easiest to use tax software programs by members of the AICPA and the NATP. helps ensure accuracy of your toughest returns with automated calculations, 1,000+ diagnostics and a final review tool. This package has All the forms, schedules and capabilities of the unlimited version. Software is $229 plus price per return. Best value if doing less than 30 returns.
Learn More Now
- Drake Pay Per Return- Drake’s Pay Per Return (PPR) version may be attractive to offices that prepare fewer than 85 returns in a year. The PPR package includes 15 returns for just $285. That’s only $19 per return, and you can purchase additional returns within the software at $19 each. You may complete numerous states, electronically file, or amend a return, and it still counts as only one return.
Learn More Now
How to get your first clients
You might be wondering how you will get your first clients. Most people start off by offering their services to friends, family members, and neighbors. This is a great place to start because these people already know you and trust that you will do a good job. From there, you can ask for referrals. Offering an incentive and/or discount to clients who give referrals is a great way to increase your business. Having a special offer for new clients also helps.
Another great way to increase business is to start networking. Get out and about and become known as the “tax expert”. You can join a group like Business Network International (BNI). It will be important for you to continue your tax education so that you stay on top of the tax law changes and can also handle more complicated tax returns/issues.
Offering to write a tax column and answer tax questions are additional ways to get your name out there. You can learn more about how to start and grow your tax business with Tax Practice Management Manuals available through The Income Tax School.
Launch your own tax business in weeks – No franchise fees or royalties
It’s easy to go into business for yourself. The Comprehensive Tax Course with Business Start-Up Guides includes everything below:
Comprehensive Tax Course includes:
- Learn to prepare tax returns & research tax issues for most Form 1040 individual, non-business taxpayers and small business taxpayers (self-employed/Schedule C).
- California and Oregon: Approved Qualifying Course Provider for CTEC and Basic Course Sponsor for OBTP
- Free instructor support via email within 24 hours or less
- Access to instructor/student forum to discuss course topics, ask questions and get updates
- Certificate issued upon completion of the Tax Course.
- 50% off our 15-hour CE package (ethics and tax law updates available) for the following year
Tax Business Start-Up Guides to help you launch your business quickly include:
- Guide to Starting a Tax Business and Getting Clients:
Contents include: Getting Started, Taking the Courses, Starting Your Own Business, Specifics for a Tax Business, How Do You Get Clients? (Includes sample marketing pieces), Bootstrap Marketing Materials You’ll Need, Meeting With Your Client, How to Price Your Services, Continuing Education, Client Retention, Becoming a Bricks and Mortar Business.
- Guide to Policies and Procedures for a Tax Business:
Contents include: Introduction, Company Philosophy, Personnel Policies, Tax Office Policies and Procedures, Tax Preparation Procedures, Processing Tax Returns, Client Folder Setup
Get Started Now!