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A tax agent is a professional who helps a client file his or her income taxes according to the requirements of the tax laws in that jurisdiction. Tax practitioners must be good with numbers and possess strong attention to detail. Tax agents also should be very organized. A person who wants to become a tax agent ideally should complete some college training, practice in an industry service company and obtain a license if one is required to practice in that jurisdiction.
If you want to become a tax agent, you should strive to complete a four-year college degree in a field such as accounting, which creates strong employment opportunities. Community colleges, vocational schools and even tax preparation companies also offer tax agent training programs that last from a few weeks to a few months and can lead to a certificate. Many tax preparation training courses are available in the form of an online or home study program as well. Some employers will even take a person who has only a high school diploma or the equivalent certification as long as the person has completed math and computer technology courses.
During a tax agent training program, students go over the various tax policies that they must be able to share with clients. For example, they cover policies related to capital gains and losses, bad debts, payroll taxes and tax credits. Students also practice giving customers advice on how to file taxes based on their individual financial situations. In addition, a student who wants to become a tax agent learns the proper questions to ask industry consumers. Aspiring tax practitioners should master local, regional and national tax laws during a tax preparer education program.
Becoming a tax preparer requires that you possess solid computer skills, because many clients prefer to complete tax forms via the Internet, which typically is faster than completing forms manually. If you want to become a tax agent, you also should work on your interpersonal skills, because a tax preparer usually serves individuals and company clients on a one-on-one basis. In addition, you should be prepared to pass the any exams that are required by the government where you will be practicing.
Getting practical job experience through an internship will help prepare someone who wants to become a tax agent for an entry-level position in this field as well. You also should be prepared to complete any licensing requirements in your area, which might include demonstrating that you have completed formal training or passing a test. To be successful as an tax agent, you should complete continuing education courses to stay on top of developments in this regularly changing field.
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