How do I Become a Tax Return Preparer?

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  • Written By: Florence J. Tipton
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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To become a tax return preparer, you may benefit from taking a course on tax preparation services. A tax preparation course may provide instruction for preparing different types of tax returns and guidance on tax regulations for the current year. Another consideration to become a tax return preparer is to research the requirements established by the governmental tax authority in your area. Some governmental tax authorities may require certification before you receive authorization to file tax returns on behalf of others. Registration with the governmental tax authority might also be a requirement in your area to become a tax return preparer.

If you become a tax return preparer, you might have an opportunity to help taxpayers with a variety of situations. During the tax season, many people may turn to a professional for help in deciphering tax regulations. As a tax return preparer, you might assist people with understanding the implications of the regulations in meeting tax obligations.

Taking a course through an established tax preparation service might give you validity as a tax return preparer. This may demonstrate to potential clients that you are qualified as a tax return preparer. As a result, potential clients may trust your knowledge and advice if you have supporting credentials.


Generally, tax preparation courses cover different types of tax returns and filing status requirements for a specific region. Courses may also include income reporting requirements that are applicable to different tax returns. In addition, you may also learn about the current tax regulations with provisions for possible credits. Some courses may also teach you how to give tax advice to clients.

Certification is another form of preparation that might be part of the tax preparation course. Tax return preparer certification usually establishes you as a professional in the field. Normally, you will take a competency exam that tests your knowledge of different tax returns and regulations. Each year, you might need refresher courses to maintain certification.

You might want to verify whether the governing tax authority in your area requires registration to become a tax return preparer. Often, registration is legally required before you can accept payment for preparing a tax return. Typically, the process to register is available from the tax authority.

After completing a course and registering with the local tax authority, you might want to establish tax preparation fees. As a tax return preparer, you may need to spend some time consulting tax regulations for complex returns. Usually, you might want to set tax preparation fees according to a client’s filing status, the complexity of the tax burden and required forms to file tax returns properly.


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