How to make money year-round as a tax preparer

For many new tax preparers – and those who have considered entering the field – one of the main concerns is how they can make money year-round from a job that’s typically seasonal work. Let’s take a look at what options you have as a tax preparer if you’re looking to earn more income and offer additional services.

Do tax preparers work year-round?

Yes and no. While you can still bank on some people missing the tax filing deadline and needing your help filing returns, filing for an extension or amending returns, this most likely won’t carry you through to next year.

So, if you’re looking for ways to earn some extra cash when the busy season starts to wind down, you need to learn how to do more than just taxes. Here are some ways you can diversify to maximize your earning potential as a tax preparer.

Bookkeeping services

If you’re looking for a supplemental business offering that’s a year-round necessity, bookkeeping services are a great option.  If you are already preparing taxes for a business, bookkeeping could be an easy add-on feature.  You can also acquire clients for your bookkeeping services that might become tax preparation clients.  

Becoming a bookkeeper requires certification, which may be acquired by taking a course such as the one offered by the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers. Bookkeeping software also will be needed such as Intuit’s QuickBooks, which is the standard used by most bookkeepers. 

Payroll services

If you’re looking to add another great service for business clients, payroll services would b e a great way to extend your business relationship.  Intuit offers great payroll solutions and you can find out more about Intuit’s payroll products here

Financial Services

Chances are your clients are already asking you financial questions that go beyond taxes.  Adding financial planning to your list of services will help deepen the relationship with your clients and generate more revenue. Unless you provide only fee-based financial services, you will need to obtain securities licenses and have a relationship with a broker-dealer such as HD VEST that specializes in working with tax preparers. You can find more information on the American Institute of CPAs website

Taxpayer representation

Becoming an Enrolled Agent (EA) grants you unlimited representation rights before the IRS and the ability to represent your clients on any matter. Without the EA certification, tax preparers have limited representation rights. Tax preparers who are not EAs can only represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed.  

Surgent Income Tax School offers EA Exam prep resources that will help prepare you for the EA Exam. The IRS has a number of resources if you’re looking for more information on taxpayer representation or the enrolled agent program. You should also become educated in the taxpayer representation process by taking courses such as those offered by the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) National Tax Practice Institute also offers courses to help educate you on the taxpayer representation process.  

While these are the most common ways tax preparers tend to supplement their income, there are additional ways you can diversify your tax preparation career.  

Outsource tax preparation

There are many accounting firms looking to outsource tax preparation for their clients. This could be a great way to add additional revenue for your business. 

Real estate brokering

Real estate can be another way to add a revenue stream. Real estate brokers are educated beyond the agent level as required by state laws and must pass a broker’s license exam. Brokers can work alone or hire agents to work for them.  


Similar to becoming a real estate broker, selling insurance on behalf of the major insurance agencies is another option if you’re looking to expand your tax prep career. 

ACA insurance “navigator”

With the Affordable Care Act in full swing, there is now an option for individuals to become brokers or agents for the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Exchange. There are helpful resources if you want to become a broker or agent to sell marketplace health insurance. 

Tax education

Surgent Income Tax School actually came from a need to diversify and produce more revenue.  We were originally hiring and training our own tax professionals and so we decided to offer our training to a broader base. You too can offer tax education. We offer turnkey solutions to recruiting and training tax preparers.  Find out more about our tax education options on the ITS website

We’d love to hear from you.  What have you done to generate off-season or year-round revenue?