New York State Tax Return Preparer Continuing Education Requirements

All commercial preparers who will prepare New York State personal income tax returns must complete continuing education requirements. Your status as a personal income tax preparer will be reflected on your registration certificate.

Did you complete your 2016 Tax Preparer Registration education requirement for tax year 2015—either online or as part of a  Tax Department live presentation—after October 1, 2014?

  • If yes, you may register as a tax return preparer for 2016 and begin to take the four hour 2017 Tax Preparer Registration education requirement.
  • If no, you must complete your education requirement for tax year 2015 before you can register for 2016.

Note: Courses offered by outside businesses do not count toward your continuing education requirement, regardless of year.

Are you a commercial preparer?

You are a commercial tax return preparer if you were:

  • paid to prepare ten or more New York State tax returns during 2015 and expect to be paid to prepare at least one return in 2016, or
  • paid to prepare fewer than ten New York State tax returns during 2015 and expect to be paid to prepare ten or more returns in 2016.

If you are not a commercial preparer, but wish to have your registration certificate reflect that you prepare personal income tax returns, you may voluntarily complete these continuing education requirements.

Number of hours of continuing education coursework you are required to take:

  • If you are a commercial preparer who prepared ten or more New York State personal income tax returns during the years 2012, 2013, and 2014, then you must take four hours of continuing education coursework by the end of December 2016.
  • If you are a commercial preparer who prepared fewer than ten New York State personal income tax returns during the years 2012, 2013, and 2014, then you must take:
    • 16 hours of continuing education coursework by the end of December 2016, and
    • four hours of continuing education coursework each year after that.
  • If you do not meet the definition of a commercial preparer, then you are not required to take any courses. You may, however, sign up for the 16-hour course.

Tax Return Preparer Certification course offered by IRS

If you complete the IRS course for tax preparers, it will not count towards your New York State continuing education coursework. The IRS course is valuable because it focuses on the preparation of the federal return which is the basis of the New York State return. However, it is important for individuals who prepare New York State returns to understand the differences between the New York and the federal returns.

Competency exam

All commercial tax return preparers must pass a competency exam. More information about the exam will be available soon.

How to enroll

You must use the Statewide Learning Management System (SLMS) to enroll in classes. For certain classes, you can choose either attending the class in person or completing the class online. All courses are free.

You must access SLMS through your Individual Online Services account.

  • 1. Log in or create your Individual Online Services account.
  • 2. Under the left menu, select Tax preparer registration program and then select Register myself as a tax preparer.
  • 3. On the “Registration and Continuing Education Training Tax Return Preparers” page, select SLMS.

For more information, see How to use the SLMS.

Learn more about New York CE requirements