There are a lot of myths out there about tax professionals. We’re boring, it takes a long time to become one, we love math… These are lies! It’s time to tell the truth about tax preparers, and what it takes to become one, so, we wrote a blog post that lays out all of the myths we’ve heard over the years.
Myth #1: You need to be a CPA or have an accounting degree to be a Tax Professional.
Many people shy away from taxes because they think it will be too difficult and you must be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or have an accounting degree, or the equivalent. The truth is you really don’t have to be an accountant to be a tax professional. Yes, you do need to have an aptitude for dealing with figures, high level knowledge of math and finance are not necessary. Why? Because tax preparation is not accounting, it’s law.
What you do need is at least one tax preparation course to give you a solid foundation in individual tax. In addition, a new voluntary IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) recommends that you also take a 6-hour Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course (AFTR) with a 100 question competency test to confirm your tax knowledge.
Myth #2: Tax Preparation is for ‘numbers’ people.
It’s amazing how many people think that tax preparation is all about the numbers. It’s not all about numbers, it’s actually a people business. While it is extremely important that you have the knowledge to prepare taxes accurately, the experience that your clients have during the tax preparation process and after is just as important. When you are dealing with a client’s financial information it becomes very personal. Your client trusts you to take good care of him/her and hopes you have their best interests in mind. Your client is looking for guidance and has come to you because they see you as an expert in the tax industry. You could prepare a client’s tax return perfectly but if you don’t provide personal service, they may not be back. Relationships are paramount!
So, if you enjoy working with people, you could do very well in the tax business. It’s all about building relationships and trust.
Myth #3: You need to be a college graduate to become a tax professional
We already told you that you don’t need to be a CPA to prepare taxes, but did you also know that you don’t need to have a college degree either? The level of education required is just a high school diploma or the equivalent life experience. While you don’t need a college education, you will need education in tax law and preparation. Good news: it doesn’t take four years to get that, it only takes several weeks.
Once you have the basics down, you can start preparing taxes for money while you build on your education and learn how to prepare more advanced taxes (which is more lucrative).
Myth #4: Learning tax preparation could take years.
Our Comprehensive Course can be completed in as little as 10 weeks. As we mentioned before, you can begin earning money preparing taxes for the general public as soon as you learn the basics. From there you can increase your knowledge while working as a tax preparer.
Myth #5: Launching a new career as a tax professional is expensive.
Our Comprehensive Tax Course costs less than $500. It takes a lot more than that to go to school in order to pursue a career. Tax preparation is a very affordable career option.
Myth #6: You need to buy into an expensive tax franchise to quickly launch a successful tax preparation business.
Tax franchises are expensive and restrictive. Our Tax Courses and Tax Practice Management Tools will enable you to succeed as an independent tax business owner without incurring costly franchise fees, paying perpetual royalties and being restricted from innovation and geographic expansion.
Myth #7: You have to start off working for someone else to get your career started.
With many careers, getting started means gaining experience working for others. That’s not true of the tax preparation business. As soon as you gain the knowledge and register with the IRS, you’re ready to start your career. “Hang a shingle” as they say and start recruiting clients!
Myth #8: Tax preparation is boring
To an outsider, tax preparation may seem like a boring occupation but in reality, helping people deal with their taxes is very rewarding and gratifying. As a tax professional you are a highly trusted confidante to your clients. They trust you with their most confidential financial and personal information. You are able to make the dreaded task of tax preparation a pleasant experience by educating them in the tax laws and simplifying the task.
If you like working with people and love solving problems, tax preparation is not boring at all.
Myth #9: Tax preparation is only seasonal
It’s true, there is a “tax season” but that season is for individual taxes. If you learn to prepare business taxes, you will be preparing taxes for business owners on a quarterly basis. You can also offer “Offer in Compromise” services to people who may need to settle payments owed to the IRS, or offer auditing or IRS communication services for taxpayers who receive letters from the IRS and are not sure what to do. Another option to keep you busy year-round is to offer complimentary services like bookkeeping or payroll for business clients.
Now that we’ve cleared the air, there should be nothing stopping you from starting a career as a tax professional but if there is, feel free to leave questions below.