How to Become a Chartered Tax Professional

2 Easy Steps to the CTP®:

Step 1
Successfully complete The Income Tax School series of 5 federal tax courses (One 60-hour foundation course in individual tax preparation, plus four additional 30-hour tax courses in advanced individual and small business tax law/preparation within 18 months. An average grade of at least 80% must be attained (our adult students average 90%+).
Step 2
Meet the experience requirement of working at least two tax seasons (a minimum of 500 hours) as a tax preparer while in the program (prior tax preparation experience will count for experienced tax professionals who test out of the Comprehensive Tax Course). After completing the first tax course you’ll have the tax knowledge to prepare individual tax returns for almost all U.S. taxpayers and you can start working towards your experience requirement. Plus, you’ll start earning money!

The CTP® certificate program is unique because you have the opportunity to earn money as a tax professional while you study, and to also internalize the knowledge by applying what you learn.

By officially enrolling in the CTP® program, you will be eligible for a 10% discount on each additional income tax course after completing your first course in our tax school!

CTP® Experience Requirement

As you complete the series of courses that comprise the CTP® certificate program over the span of two tax seasons, you will need to accumulate 500 hours of experience as a tax professional to qualify for the prestigious Chartered Tax Professional designation. Your tax preparation experience requirement will be documented by preparing and submitting the Affidavit of Experience Requirement to The Income Tax School.

Finding a job to meet your experience requirement

With the tax knowledge you gain from the first foundational tax course — our Comprehensive Tax Course — you will be able to easily get a job with a local tax preparation firm, as long as you meet a tax firm’s employment criteria. Alternatively, you could become self-employed as a tax professional.

Your CTP® Designation Can Be Earned in Months

All CTP® courses are offered online and can be completed anywhere, anytime-24/7. The affordable tuition includes instructor support, plus a hard copy of each tax course student manual at no additional cost. The first course consists of twenty 3-hour lessons, which can be completed in 10 weeks or less (two lessons a week). The remaining four tax courses consist of ten 3-hour lessons and can be completed in 5-10 weeks (one or two lessons per week). The entire program can be completed in less than eight months, but you may take up to 18 months, during which time you also gain experience and earn money as a tax professional. Learn more about the 5 courses in this certificate program.

You will be awarded a CTP® certificate

Upon completion of each of the courses, you will receive a Certificate of Completion with your continuing education hours listed. Once you complete the entire certificate program, you will be awarded a very impressive CTP® certificate and the designation of Chartered Tax Professional – CTP®.

Go one step further — Become an Enrolled Agent

After completing this comprehensive tax professional certificate program, you will be well prepared to handle almost any individual and small business income tax situations you encounter. You will also be ready to take the next step in your career as a tax professional by preparing for and taking the IRS enrolled agent (EA) exam. The EA designation is the most significant credential in the income tax preparation industry; even more relevant than the CPA designation.

CTP® graduates receive instructor support for one year after program completion!

Instructor support is restricted to course content, review questions, learning activities, quizzes and final exams taken. Instructors cannot assist with situations not covered in the program, nor can they provide advice or assistance in preparing tax returns for clients or other taxpayers. Extended instructor support is offered on a per course basis for courses which have 20 hours or more of instruction.

If you choose to take the IRS EA exam, you may want to prepare for it by taking an EA Exam Review through The Income Tax School at our special CTP® discount rate. See the latest news from IRS about IRS Enrolled Agents.

Special CTP® Bonus: Free Tax Practice Management Webinars…

Whether you are a tax business owner or work for one, this free bonus will be of great value to you or your employer. This unique webinar series is derived from our highly acclaimed Strategic Planning Retreat for Tax Business Owners. Upon completion of each one of the required tax courses in the CTP® program, you may choose one of the five webinars to view absolutely free! These webinars provide scores of best practices to effectively manage and grow a tax business. You will learn secrets of the national tax firms and best practices to build a highly successful tax business! View webinar descriptions

Continuing Education Requirements for the CTP®

As a Chartered Tax Professional, you will have yearly continuing education requirements. Beginning with the year after you qualify as a Chartered Tax Professional, you must complete 15 hours of Continuing Education (CE) each year to maintain your CTP® status. The CE requirement for a CTP® can be completed through our tax school and our online tax courses. The CE reporting period is by calendar year, January 1 through December 31.

Chartered Tax Professionals must complete a total of 15 hours each year in the following categories:

  • 9 hours of Federal Tax Law
  • 3 hours of Ethics
  • 3 hours of Federal Tax Law Updates

Download a CE Diary to track your credits


Get Started TODAY!!

Get your bonus package and student manuals at no extra charge…

Prepay for the CTP® package and SAVE more than $700! Or try our Installment Payment Plan.

Here are the required CTP® courses if you wish to purchase them one at a time:
Prices listed below are when the courses are paid for individually.

Note to CA and OR Students: All courses are CTEC and OBTP Approved! California residents should enroll in the California Comprehensive Tax Course, which meets the CTEC requirements to become a licensed tax preparer in California. Oregon residents should enroll in the Oregon Comprehensive Tax Course, which meets the Oregon State Board of Tax Practitioners requirements to become a licensed tax preparer in Oregon.

Already Have Some Tax Knowledge?

If you’ve already taken an income tax course or two from our tax school you can still register for the CTP® certificate program and we will submit your completed courses into the program. Or, if you already have some tax knowledge under your belt from another source, you can still register for the CTP® program and you may test out of the Comprehensive Tax Course only and move on to the Advanced and Small Business courses. The cost to test out of the Comprehensive Tax Course is $100. Please contact us by calling us at 1.800.984.1040 or by emailing us.

CTP® Certificate Program Disclaimer Notice: When the CTP® program is purchased as a package, the course books will ship individually and access to each new course will be given upon completion of the last course. This will ensure that you receive the most current material available when you are ready to take each course.


What are the prerequisites for the certificate program?

A high school diploma or equivalent is a prerequisite; accounting & math skill is not required, just the aptitude to work with numbers and people and to read and interpret the tax laws.

What credentials does The Income Tax School have?

The Income Tax School is approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for Continuing Education for EAs, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) for CPAs, California Tax Education Council (CTEC), Oregon State Board of Tax Practitioners (OBTP), State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), and college credit is available through the University of Phoenix. Learn more

Who is this certificate program suitable for?

This program is suitable for all adults who seek a fast track to a professional white-collar career. Tax preparation is especially appealing to those who would enjoy helping other people by making the intimidating task of tax preparation a pleasant experience while saving their clients’ money by minimizing their tax liabilities.

  • Stay-at-home parents with young children find tax preparation a convenient profession as they are able to be off when their children are out of school for the summer, yet maintain their professional skills.
  • Early retirees find tax preparation a rewarding second career enabling them use their minds while helping people and still have time to travel, play golf and spend time with their grandchildren.
  • College students find tax preparation an opportunity to gain professional work experience and credentials to strengthen their resumes.
  • Moonlighting professionals find tax preparation a source of extra income during winter months.
  • Blue collar workers can enter new white-collar professions through tax preparation.
  • Many employed and self-employed individuals such as financial services and real-estate professionals find tax preparation a complementary profession to earn extra money and also generate leads for their other professional activities, while also enabling them to better serve their clients through knowledge of the tax consequences of their clients’ decisions.

What are the PC requirements for the certificate program?

In order to take our online courses, you must have access to a computer and the Internet (high speed internet access is recommended). You can access the course contents from any web-enabled computer. You do not have to use the same computer to log-in to the course every time. The course works with Windows, MAC and Linux operating systems. We recommend that you have the latest version of Firefox. Adobe Reader is required to view the online material (free download).

What materials are included with the certificate program?

Each of the courses is accompanied by a student text (350-500 pages). The entire text is provided online; however, hard copies of student texts are also provided at the start of each course for convenience and future reference. Students are also provided with hard copies of tax forms to complete tax return problems.

How much time do I have to complete the certificate program?

The term for the Chartered Tax Professional Program is 18 months.