What are Different Types of Tax Preparer Jobs?

N. Madison
N. Madison

There are several types of tax preparer jobs a person might pursue. An individual interested in tax-related work may become a tax preparer for a chain of tax-preparation offices or work as an enrolled agent. A person interested in this field might become a tax accountant instead, working for an accounting company, tax preparation service, or even a tax agency. The qualifications for a person in each type of job may vary, but may include a degree in a finance-related field and sometimes special certifications.

All W-2 forms should be brought to a tax preparer.
All W-2 forms should be brought to a tax preparer.

An individual interested in tax preparer jobs may apply for a position with a company that specializes in preparing taxes and securing refunds for consumers. Many of these businesses have several locations, and some are even franchises. There are no set requirements for a person who wants to prepare taxes for one of these companies. Tax preparation companies often hire tax preparers who have high school diplomas or college degrees, but no experience or expertise with preparing tax returns for others. These companies typically train applicants to prepare tax returns, offering on-the-job training programs, but also hire former tax lawyers and experienced preparers who do not need training.

Tax accountants are allowed to not only prepare taxes, but to provide client representation in the event of an audit.
Tax accountants are allowed to not only prepare taxes, but to provide client representation in the event of an audit.

Some people who are interested in tax preparer jobs become enrolled agents; these are United States tax preparers who have received training approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and have passed a test created for prospective enrolled agents. An enrolled agent can not only prepare tax returns for his clients, but also represent them if they are audited. A person with this title can even represent his clients in collection actions initiated by the IRS as well as in appeals the taxpayer initiates. Enrolled agents receive federal licenses, but there are no college degree requirements for earning this title.

Having a tax return professionally filed may decrease the taxpayer's chances of being audited.
Having a tax return professionally filed may decrease the taxpayer's chances of being audited.

One of the tax preparer jobs that does require a college degree is that of a tax accountant. An individual who wants to become a tax accountant usually earns at least an associate's degree in accounting, though some may opt to earn bachelor’s degrees instead. An individual interested in this tax preparer job typically has to seek certification as a public accountant in order to become a tax accountant. He does not need tax-specific certification, however, as tax accountants are usually just certified public accountants (CPAs) who specialize in tax matters. A tax accountant, like an enrolled agent, is usually allowed to not only prepare taxes, but also provide client representation in the event of an audit or appeal.

A tax agent may represent a client who has been audited.
A tax agent may represent a client who has been audited.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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