How does The Income Tax School compare to other tax schools?
We cannot comment on the courses offered by other tax schools. However, we can tell you how our tax preparation courses and online tax training courses differ from many of our competitors. Surgent Income Tax School (ITS) curriculum developers and instructors are all experienced and practicing tax professionals, which ensures that our tax courses provide practical knowledge that can be applied by graduates in their tax practices. ITS has been operating for more than 30 years (since 1989) and is the nationwide leader in tax training. Our course content goes through rigorous editing processes and is of high quality.
Where can I find information about the IRS Exam and where I can take the test?
Currently, the IRS has a voluntary Annual Filing Season Program for tax preparers. You can find out more about it at the link below and discover the reasons why it is the minimum standard you should achieve as a tax preparer:
When can I start the course?
Our income tax courses are all open enrollment. You can register and start any tax training course or CE seminar as soon as you receive your login information and are ready. We tell our students to allow up to 24 business hours for login credentials to be sent, however, many times you receive access within 1-2 hours.
What does interactive mean?
Interactive courses include instructor support by email and automatic instructional feedback. All assignments and exams are graded instantly. Learn tax prep with our interactive online tax courses.
What does online grading mean and how will I know how I am doing?
With the online tax courses, students receive instant feedback on the accuracy of each homework assignment, quiz, and exam. Students must successfully pass each chapter (70% is passing) before they can move on to the next one. When students have a question or comment, they have a direct link to send an email to our instructor support. Instructors will respond within two business days.
How much time do I have to complete a tax course? Is there a time frame that I need to finish each chapter or assignment?
All of our online tax courses are able to be completed at your own pace via the online platform. Different tax courses have different term limits, based on the number of credit hours for each course. The term start date is the date of registration. To complete each course, you have up to:
- 6 months for the Comprehensive Tax Course.
- 3 months for each of the following courses: Small Business I, Small Business II, Advanced I, Advanced II.
- 12 months for the Chartered Tax Consultant Certificate Program (includes Comprehensive, Small Business I, Small Business II).
- 18 months for the Chartered Tax Professional Certificate Program (includes Comprehensive, Small Business I, Small Business II, Advanced I, Advanced II).
- 12 months for CE courses, including CE bundles or packages. Note: the IRS deadline to complete CE is December 31st each year. While students may have access to their CE course for up to one year from their registration date, they will want to be cognizant of the IRS deadline and/or any state-specific deadlines in order to have their CE credits reported on time. Learn more about Tax Preparer Regulations by State.
Students who do not finish the tax course within the allotted time frame may extend their term for a nominal reinstatement fee.
How long will it take to complete a tax course?
All of our tax courses are available online, allowing you to learn to do taxes at your own pace. We give students up to 6 months to complete our Comprehensive tax course and up to 3 months for each of our subsequent tax courses (Advanced I and II, Small Business I and II). This time frame is based on completing just one chapter per week as well as giving students 2 additional weeks to study for each exam. However, some students will be able to work more quickly depending on their time constraints and/or study needs. There is no penalty if you complete your tax course in a shorter time frame.
How much time should I allow for each online lesson?
The time spent on each tax course will vary depending on the student’s previous existing tax knowledge, study habits, etc. In general, you can expect to spend 5-6 hours per chapter to read the chapter and the reading assignment, and to complete lesson problems, assignments, quizzes, and tests.
How many chapters should I complete a week?
We recommend that students complete at least 1 or 2 chapters per week to finish within the given term limit. However, our tax training courses are flexible to accommodate your schedule. Depending on the students prior tax knowledge, schedule commitments, and study habits, the course may be accelerated or more time can be added if needed.
What if I need to exceed the time frame allowed to complete the course?
You may request an extension for another term for a nominal fee.
Do I have to buy additional materials?
All tax course text material and required reference material is available online with access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may download chapters and read them online. Many students prefer to have a hard copies of the tax course materials, so optional books are available for an additional fee. This saves students money and time by not having to print the text themselves. In addition, the textbook serves as a reference manual for future use when preparing tax returns. Any hard copy tax course materials will ship within 10 business days of your registration via UPS Ground or USPS. Alternative and international shipping methods are available for a fee. You must provide a physical street address, no P.O. Boxes.
What kind of support does Surgent Income Tax School provide?
- Administrative Support: Accessibility issues, course extensions, program upgrades, resetting of passwords/courses/graded assignments, and more.
- Instructor Support: Questions about course content can be submitted via email through the course portal.
What is the actual response time to have questions answered by Surgent’s Support Team?
Our instructors respond to students on a first-come first-served basis and make every effort to respond within 24 hours. Two business days is the maximum response time.
I just registered and got my user login. I am excited to get started but was wondering if you recommend I wait for my book?
There is no need to wait! Everything you need is available online. The book is a great tool to have while taking the course so you don’t have to print everything out. It is also a great reference after you finish the course. Feel free to start your course now and just download anything you need until your book comes. It should only be a few days.
How can I be assured that no one will have access to my course information online?
Each Student is issued a unique username and password that is required to enter the secure area of the learning management system (LMS) where their student’s data is entered and stored.
Will I be able to complete an online assignment more than once?
You will be allowed 2 attempts for chapter quizzes/tests and 1 attempt for final exams. You must successfully complete each section (70% is passing) before you are able to move on to the next one. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 80% or higher is required to receive the Chartered Tax certificate designations.
What happens if I am unable to complete my online assignment in one sitting?
If you are in the middle of a graded assignment, you can simply save your place and sign off (just be sure NOT to click “submit all and finish”). When you sign back in you will be able to click “Continue the Last Attempt” and you will be able to continue your graded assignment from exactly where you left off. To make things easier for our students, we recommend downloading the assignment and completing it offline. Then all a student has to do is input the correct answers online. This is particularly helpful for students with a dial-up connection.
How will I be notified if there is a correction for my online course?
Corrections to your student text will be posted in the Updates & Corrections forum in each course, at the beginning of each chapter.
Once I complete the course how will I receive my certificate?
- Students who purchase a course through The Income Tax School directly or through one of our partners, will receive Certificates of Completion from The Income Tax School upon successful completion of each module within a course.
- If you are a student of one of our licensees, you will need to speak with your instructor about receiving Certificates of Completion. You will not receive one from The Income Tax School.
- For 2020 or later courses, you may view and download Certificates of Completion within the LMS by going to the upper right corner of your screen and clicking your name to open your profile. Then click Miscellaneous, and then My Certificates.
- For 2019 or earlier courses, you may view and download Certificates of Completion within the LMS by clicking on “My Certificates” at the top of any course page.
- If you don’t receive your Certificates of Completion, please contact the school administrator.
If you are in one of the Chartered Tax Certificate Programs, you will be issued your Chartered Tax Credential after you have completed all courses with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 80% or more, and have documented your required experience hours to qualify for the designation.
Do you report my Continuing Education credits to the IRS and/or CTEC?
Yes, The Income Tax School is required to report CE completions for the first 3 quarters of the calendar year once per quarter.
- CE courses completed January 1- March 30- reported March 31
- CE courses completed April 1- June 29- reported June 30
- CE courses completed July 1- September 29- reported September 30
- Beginning October 1st, The Income Tax School reports CE completion every 10 days through the end of the calendar year.
CTEC requires reporting every 10 days throughout the calendar year for both Continuing Education and Qualifying education. For Continuing Education, The Income Tax School reports daily (during business hours) in October, until October 31 at 11:59 PST.
CTEC students are responsible for verifying their own CE credits through their CTEC account before the 10/31 CTEC renewal deadline.
The ITS School Admin Team works diligently to report the influx of CE completions we receive near the deadline, as well as responding to students that reach out via email. While the School Admin Team may not be available to respond to inquiries right away during peak times, please know our students are always our top priority.
Should you need assistance from the ITS School Admin Team regarding CE credits, please first verify your CE credits by logging into your CTEC account. All reported CE credits will be listed in your CTEC account within the 4 main required categories and will include the name of the course and the number of CE hours earned. Any missing CE credits will also show up on this screen. Please take a screenshot of this information and include it in your email when you contact ITS School Admin Team for assistance with your ITS course information. Email ITS School Admin
I heard the IRS is now offering a voluntary Annual Filing Season Program for tax return preparers. What does that mean for people new to the industry and those already in the industry?
IRS regulations require all paid tax return preparers to obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). The cost to obtain your PTIN is $35.95. In addition to this, the IRS offers an Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP), which is a voluntary IRS tax training program for return preparers. It aims to recognize the efforts of non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism.
Please note: The AFTR course, which is part of the AFSP program, is a short federal tax refresher course for experienced tax preparers and will not enable a person who is not an experienced tax preparer to learn how to prepare income tax returns. If you are interested in becoming a tax preparer, you should consider the Comprehensive Tax Course.
Do the 3-hour seminars have a quiz or test at the end?
Our 3-hour seminars have 15 questions and a learning activity that need to be completed. The learning activity usually has questions that follow. The questions are related to the forms or exercises completed in the learning activity.
Is The Income Tax School an eligible education institution that can issue college credit for the Lifetime Learning Credit under Internal Revenue Code?
The Income Tax School is not an eligible educational institution as defined by the IRS. Our students are not eligible for education credits.
Does The Income Tax School provide courses in state income tax preparation?
The following nine U.S. states currently don’t have an income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Residents of New Hampshire and Tennessee do pay tax on dividends and income from investments.
We do not offer state income tax courses except for California. For other states with an income tax, we recommend that the students download or print a set of state instruction and applicable publications for use in following along with the federal chapter subject matter. The student should prepare state income tax returns for completed federal tax return Learning Activities in our course using the instructions provided by their state department of taxation. The following is a link to a list of websites of State Tax Agencies: http://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies
Most tax preparation software applications automatically prepare the state, usually starting with the Federal Adjusted Gross Income. To prepare accurate state returns, students will need to be able to identity the differences in Federal and state tax law for any state return, for which they are required to file. The students will need to understand how to make adjustments, subtraction and additions for the differences for the state from the Federal (e.g., income additions and subtractions, differences in exemptions, deductions, credits, proration for part-year residency, etc.).
After taking a course or seminar from the Income Tax School, may I contact the school for assistance with tax returns, which I’m preparing based on the courses/seminars I studied?
Unfortunately, for reasons of legal liability, we cannot assist students or graduates with the preparation of tax returns or tax forms that are not specific course assignments included in our curriculum. You may want to enlist the help of a tax professional organization, that offers tax preparation research assistance to members.
Do you provide the answer keys to study questions and learning activities?
Per IRS and NASBA guidelines, we are unable to provide Answer Keys to the these items. However, if you have a particular question(s), for which you need clarification or have an incorrect answer, we can provide the answer(s). We would not provide the answer(s) until you have moved on to the next assignment and you would not be allowed to go back and change your answers. Please note, we will not provide answers to any quiz or exam questions at any time.
What is the difference between an Enrolled Agent (EA) Exam Review and the Chartered Tax Professional (CTP) Certificate Program?
An Enrolled Agent Exam Review is merely a program to prepare someone who already has extensive individual and small business tax preparation knowledge to take the EA exam (Special Enrollment Exam (SEE)). However, an EA Review is not an education program to teach tax preparation. Our Chartered Tax Professional (CTP) certificate program includes the Comprehensive tax course, plus two advanced individual tax courses, and two small business tax courses (5 courses total). The CTP program (link below) covers most topics on the EA exam. After you complete the CTP program, you should only need to take an EA review class and then you could sit for the EA exam (SEE). There is also a 300-hour experience requirement that must be completed before you can receive your CTP certificate. This is easily obtained working part-time over two tax seasons.
Can I start out by purchasing the Chartered Tax Advisor or Chartered Tax Consultant and then work my way up to the Chartered Tax Professional, or do I have to purchase the entire Chartered Tax Professional at one time?
Yes! You can start out with either of the first two Chartered Tax Certificate Programs. You can even start out with just the first course (Comprehensive Tax Course) and upgrade later. If you are currently enrolled in or have completed an ITS course or certificate program and your term has not ended, your current fees may be credited toward a higher level certificate program. You only need to pay the difference of the two programs. There is no additional upgrade fee. If you’ve already completed an ITS course or certificate program with us and your term has ended not more than 9 months ago, you may still upgrade by paying the difference of the two programs, plus a nominal re-enrollment fee of $25 to cover processing. If you’ve already completed an ITS course or certificate program with us, and it is past 9 months but not more than 18 months since the end of your term, you may still upgrade by paying the difference of the two programs, plus a nominal re-enrollment fee of $50 to cover processing. Call us at (800) 984-1040 to upgrade today!
Can I complete more than 2 lessons per week or does the system limit how many lessons I can do in a week?
You can absolutely complete more than 2 lessons per week. You can set any pace you like. The 2 lessons per week is a suggestion so that you can complete your course in a timely manner and within the allotted term for your course. And if you need more time, we do offer an extension for our 30-45 hour courses.