Tax Pros: Are You Ready To Go Back to School?

BooksThe kids are going back to school today, which means you should too! As a tax preparer there are certain Continuing Education requirements you must meet and a new certification program from the IRS you should consider if you are an unenrolled preparer. Plus, learning to prepare more complicated tax returns will make you more experienced and earn you more money.

Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course and Certificate

If you are an unenrolled tax preparer, as of this year, you are now able to obtain a certificate from the IRS through their Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course. The AFTR includes taking an examination and 11 hours of Continuing Education to be eligible for the certificate. Here’s a list of education you’ll need to gain your certificate and be listed on the IRS website along with EAs and other credentialed preparers.

For the 2015 season you will need

  • A valid PTIN
  • 6 hours of federal tax filing season refresher course (with a required comprehension test at completion)
  • 3 hours of other federal tax law topics
  • 2 hours of ethics

More about our AFTR Course Packages.


Enrolled Agent Continuing Education Requirements

As an Enrolled Agent, in-order to maintain your status you must complete 72 hours of continuing education every three years (cycle depends on your renewal cycle). There is a minimum of 16 hours for each year, 2 of which must be ethics.

Surgent Income Tax School offers over 30 great CE Tax Seminars that are IRS Approved.



If you are a CPA, you are required to take Continuing Professional Education to maintain your professional competence. The Income Tax School is a sponsor of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) for CPAs and offers a variety of courses you can choose from.

Learn to Earn

Even if you don’t have to take continuing education courses, the more you learn, the more you’ll earn. Learning to prepare more complicated tax returns means you will be able to take on an array of clients that are more likely to retain. Client retention increases the more complicated the tax situation because they have to confide in you with lots of trusted information, and because you are more likely to develop a relationship. When someone is only coming to your for a general tax return, they are less invested in the process and in you and can easily go somewhere else the following year or elect to do it on their own.


If you want to expand your tax knowledge to learn to prepare more complicated returns, here are some courses to take that will get you there.

  • Advanced-I (individual)
  • Small Business-I (corporation & partnership) courses
  • Advanced-II
  • Small Business-II
  • Charted Tax Professional

More about our advanced tax courses.

Who’s ready to go back to school?!

Further Reading

Learning to Prepare More Complicated Tax Returns Is Good For Client Retention

Tax Season Ready Checklist

How to Set Yourself Apart from Unqualified Preparers