How to Become a Tax Preparer Part 2: What To Expect

What To Expect


  1. Skills You Will Need
  • Great Communication Skills

In order to a be a successful tax preparer, you must be able to talk to people and put them to ease about a topic that generally causes them anxiety. You are always coming into contact with your clients whether in person or on the phone. People are coming to you because you are a professional and taxes can be confusing. It is important that you are able to explain to clients tax terminology, new tax code and why they do or do not qualify for a particular deduction.


  • Detail Oriented

You must be very exact in your work and make sure all details are done correctly. Your clients have come to you for your professional knowledge and accuracy, and any errors could cost your client money or cause them problems with the IRS.


  • Knowledge Of Federal And State Tax Law

Understanding and knowledge of the ever changing tax code is a very important aspect of being a tax preparer. By keeping up to date with the tax code and knowing what applies for what state, you will be able to accurately prepare your clients return and ensure them the biggest tax deduction possible for their case. A great place to learn about federal tax law is at the IRS Tax Forums held every year. At the IRS Tax Forums there are educational workshops and networking and training on the latest tax law changes.


  • Computer Skills

In today’s world, many tax preparers rely more and more on computers and computer software to assist them in the preparation of returns. It is important to know the basic functions of computers and how to install and use the software that you choose to use.


  1. Work Schedule and Activities

The busiest time of year for a tax preparer is from January 1 through April 15. Many tax preparers are still busy through October 15 due to the extension deadline. Some duties that you can expect to perform as a tax preparer are:

  • Reviewing your clients’ tax records, such as wage statements and previous tax returns.
  • Interviewing your clients about their income, expenses, investments, and other information.
  • Completing all the required tax forms for your client, using all the possible deductions to reduce their tax liability to ensure your client the best refund or lowest tax debt possible.


  1. Keep Up With All Credentials and Education Requirements

Once you become a registered tax preparer you must:

Renew online during Mid-October until December 31


  • Obtain IRS-Mandated CPE Requirements

All tax return preparers who have registered with the IRS, and who have obtained a PTIN, are now required to complete 15 hours of Continuing Professional Education each year. The 15 hours must include 3 hours on federal tax law updates; 2 hours on tax preparer ethics; and 10 hours on federal tax law topics. TaxSlayer Pro has been approved as an IRS Education Provider and now offers a 15 Hour CE Bundle of Online Courses that enables you to meet your annual CE requirement for FREE until August 31, 2012!


  • Keep your information current by updating it as needed through your online PTIN account.


Tune in next week for part 3 of the
How to Become a Tax Preparer Series: Advertising Your Office