How to Become a Tax Preparer at Home

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Even now in the midst of the pandemic, new tax preparers are successfully launching their businesses and finding clients. Social distancing may be our new reality, but our professional tax software tools make it easier than ever before to begin your career as a tax professional and start your business from home. Here’s how:

Becoming a Tax Preparer from Home

Tax preparers join the industry for a host of reasons. Some of the key reasons include:

  • low barrier to entry
  • high income potential
  • flexible working hours
  • seasonality (working 4-6 months per year)
  • pride of owning one’s own business

Whatever your reasons for pursuing professional tax preparation are, the first steps of becoming a tax preparer– getting licensed, registering your business, and pursuing education– can all be done easily from home.

Apply for Licenses

First, you’ll need to apply for a PTIN and EFIN with the IRS. Most of the application processes can be completed from the IRS website. However, to get your EFIN, you will need to be fingerprinted in person by a trained professional.

Register Your Business

A few states have specific requirements for tax preparers, and most others require you to register your small business. Learn your state’s requirements, and start the registration process online.

Gain Credentials and Education

Beyond the PTIN and EFIN, the IRS doesn’t require any specific credentials or education to be a tax preparer. However, pursuing continuing education will set you apart from your competitors and help you grow your business. Even in our current environment, you can get started immediately with online tax education opportunities and the IRS’s Nationwide Tax Forums Online (NTFO)

To learn more about credentials and education opportunities, take a look at our post on Continuing Education Requirements for Tax Preparers.

Working from Home as a Tax Preparer

For now, working from home is the new normal for many non-essential workers. Thanks to advances in tax prep software, both new and seasoned tax preparers have been able to make the transition smoothly. Here’s what you’ll want to keep in mind as you set up your new business from home. 

Choose a WFH-Friendly Tax Software

Now more than ever, you want to be mindful about choosing a tax software that’s remote-work friendly. Cloud-based software, for example, enables online tax preparation, allowing you to work from anywhere.

Enable Digital Client Interactions

Your first priority will be creating a business email and phone number. As your practice grows, you’ll eventually want to invest in a professional website and a separate phone line. When you’re just starting out, however, Gmail and GoogleVoice are secure, free options that will help you get up and running quickly.

Other tools like the TaxesToGo Mobile app will allow clients to easily and securely share their tax documents and avoid in-person meetings. The app’s notifications and chat features streamline communication, saving time for both of you.

Follow WFH Best Practices

Setting a schedule, creating a dedicated work space, and dressing for work can help you stay focused and work efficiently.

Finding Your First Tax Clients from Home

With your business ready to go, it’s time to focus on marketing and finding clients. An effective digital marketing strategy for your new tax practice can help you secure clients even under social distancing restrictions. Local search engine optimization, a business website, and strong social media presence will give your business visibility and credibility online.

Becoming a tax preparer and starting your home-based tax preparation business while working remotely is easier than ever before. We’re here to help you get started with a free demo of our cloud-based professional tax software and our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Tax Preparation Business.