How to Become a Tax Preparer and Start Earning Money Before Tax Season

Looking for a new career? A career as a tax professional can be very rewarding and getting started doesn’t require any knowledge of the industry. Here’s how you can become a tax professional before tax season.


Tax business start-up checklist

  • Enroll in tax course (beginner and/or advanced tax courses)
  • Read the New Rules for Federal Tax Return Preparers
  • Purchase and read Surgent Income Tax School’s Tax Practice Management Manuals
  • Joining our LinkedIn group to interact with other tax professionals and stay on top of industry news: Tax Business Owners of America (TBOA)
  • Consider joining the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP)
  • Register with the IRS as a Tax Preparer – Get Your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)
  • Apply for IRS Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) so you can e-file tax returns. Before you can electronically file tax returns, you must apply to become an Authorized e-file provider with the IRS. This process is facilitated by the IRS in three phases:
    • Phase 1: Create an IRS e-services Account – Before you can begin the application process, you must apply and be approved for an e-services account with the IRS. The IRS may take several days to verify and approve your information, so it is important to plan accordingly.
    • Phase 2: Submit Your Application – After you are approved for e-services, you will be able to log into your account to fill out the online application to become an IRS e-file provider. Plan accordingly as it may take up to 45 days for the IRS to approve an Authorized e-file Provider application.
    • Phase 3: Pass a Suitability Check – After you submit your application and any related documents, the IRS will conduct a suitability check on the firm and each person listed on your application as either a principal or responsible official. This may include: a credit check; a tax compliance check; a criminal background check; and a check for prior non-compliance with IRS e-file requirements. Once approved, you will get an acceptance letter from the IRS with your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).
  • Order tax preparer software

Further Reading

Low Cost Solutions to Starting Your Tax Business

Why you need an operations manual

DIY Marketing Tips for Tax Offices

Grow Your Tax Business by Recruiting and Training Your Own Preparers