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.
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.
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.
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.