Four Steps to Becoming a Tax Preparer

Surgent Income Tax School
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Become a tax preparer online in just weeks – no high-level math, accounting knowledge or college degree needed. Jumpstart your tax career today.

Follow these four easy steps and you can be preparing tax returns in a little as 10 weeks


Take Our Highly Rated Beginner Tax Preparation Course

Our Comprehensive Tax Course starts with the basics, assuming no prior tax knowledge and only basic math skills. Register at any time.

Once you’re signed up, you complete the coursework online, learning at your own pace and on your own schedule. Support from Surgent Income Tax School staff is only an email away! Course materials are available 24/7 for six months, but many students finish in 10 weeks.

When you’ve completed our course, you’ll be qualified to:

  • Prepare tax returns for most Form 1040 individual, non-business taxpayers
  • Prepare tax returns for most self-employed/Schedule C taxpayers
  • Research tax issues for your clients

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Obtain a PTIN

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) to all paid tax preparers. Before you can prepare, or assist in preparing, federal tax returns for pay, you must have a valid PTIN.

NOTE: You should obtain your PTIN as soon as possible to keep things moving. You don’t need to wait until you complete Step 1.

Applying for your PTIN is easy and only takes about 15 minutes online. There is a $35.95 nonrefundable fee, which can be paid by Credit/Debit/ATM card. Visit the IRS Website to learn more about obtaining your PTIN.


Check Your State’s Requirements for Tax Preparers

Be sure to check whether the state you live in has specific requirements that you must meet to be a paid tax preparer. State requirements range from none to annual registration, a required beginner course, and/or a state exam that you must pass. There may also be continuing education requirements.

See If Your State Has Tax Preparer Regulations

Continue Your Education

While there are no federal requirements for continuing education, you’ll want to stay current with changing tax laws or develop your skills with advanced tax courses. Learning advanced individual and small-business tax information will enable you to take on more complicated tax returns. This new knowledge will help you gain confidence as a tax preparer, continue to grow in the field and expand your tax practice.

The IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) is a great way to stay up-to-date with current tax law.

IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP)
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