Best Overall: Surgent Income Tax School
Surgent Income Tax School
Why We Chose It: Tax preparation courses are available for professionals at all knowledge and experience levels at an affordable cost.
Resources are available for beginning and experienced tax pros
Costs are affordable
Surgent has an excellent reputation
Career services arent provided
Can take up to 18 months to complete the program
Surgent was founded in 1985 and is a leading accounting, tax, and finance education provider. The company is well known for its continuing professional education and exam review programs . It also has an Income Tax School with more than 40 online tax training programs offered nationally.
The Surgent Income Tax School offers professional tax preparation courses for individuals at all career levels, including beginners and experienced tax professionals. This includes short, three-hour CPE seminars good for tax professionals needing to maintain their certifications. It also includes comprehensive training for beginners with a high school education and no experience who want to become tax professionals.
Costs vary depending on the courses, ranging from a low of $29 for a CPE course up to $1,497 for all five courses in its Chartered Tax Professional program, covering beginner to advanced tax concepts. Upon CTP program completion, youll have the knowledge and experience necessary to prepare for the Enrolled Agent exam.
You can expect it to take 12 to 18 months to complete the program.
Get Your Mississippi Cpa License
You are now ready to apply for a CPA license under the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy regulations. Check that you have completed each of the following steps along your path to becoming a Mississippi CPA:
- Complete 150 semester hours of college education and earn a bachelors degree inclusive of 48 hours of upper division business and accounting courses.
- Have your college or university send an official transcript to the Board
- Pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
- Fulfill the Boards experience requirement of one year of accounting experience, supervised by a licensed CPA.
b. Prepare the application for your Mississippi CPA License. Complete the Application for CPA License. Along with your application you must:
- Attach a 2 x 2 photograph of yourself
- Include all necessary fees
- Have the application notarized
- List all prior employment in accounting
- Fill out a Request for Employment Verification for each of your supervisors
- If you did not pass the Uniform CPA Exam in Mississippi, have your college send an official transcript to the Board and complete the Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Examination and Licensure Information form. Send this form to the Board of the state where you passed the Uniform CPA Exam.
c. Mail the completed application packet to: Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy, 5 Old River Place, Suite 104, Jackson, MS 39202-3449.
Interstate Reciprocal License
International Reciprocal License
Do You Need A License To Become A Non
The IRS does little to regulate non-credentialed tax preparers. It does not require them to have licenses. But non-credentialed tax preparers can’t represent clients before the IRS. Regulating tax preparers is left to the states. In the vast majority of states, anyone can prepare tax returns for others without having to take a competency exam, get a license, or comply with any other government regulation. A few states do license preparers. These are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and Oregon. Also, 20 states have special regulations you must comply with if you offer tax refund anticipation loans to your clients.
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Filing Your Tax Return
What you need to know about filing your personal income tax and benefit return.
Save your receipts for the new Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit in 2021, which you can apply for during the 2022 tax season.
Where Might You Work
Once you take your ATP exam, you want to know where you might be able to find work. Because your new professional role is so specialized, youll be able to work in some specific types of professional offices.
Tax Preparation Chains/Local Outlets
The tax preparers in these agencies are required to have some training, though your certification may not be a requirement. In addition, tax preparers who work at these locations may choose to do this work only during the tax season, while others decide to work year-round.
You may also find work in a law firm focused on tax work or an accounting firm. Another choice would be to start at the bottom in a city/state government tax office. This would provide you plenty of opportunity for upward movement if you decide to go back to school or earn more taxation credentials.
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Take Tax Preparation Courses
Though you can learn plenty in your high school and college education about math and taxes, there are still a lot of specifics that go into tax return preparation that they don’t cover. For this, you’ll need tax preparation courses to fill you in on vital information.
Look into nearby universities and community colleges, as many have a tax preparation course that ends with a certification. These courses break down many of the specifics that come with preparing a tax return. You’ll be familiarized with major forms like the 1040, and learn about the various tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.
You’ll likely learn about tax deductions, how to file taxes for different people and businesses and the many laws that have to be followed. Effectively, you can take the initial knowledge you’ve gotten from your high school and/or college education, from math to law, and apply them to information more directly relevant to tax preparation.
In addition to courses at colleges, you may want to look into some of the larger tax preparation businesses near you many of the nationwide ones offer courses of their own, and if you’re able to get a job quicker than expected after your education, many of them offer training on the job too.
Best For Enrolled Agent Exam Prep: Gleim Enrolled Agent Review
Personalized support from a counselor with higher-cost plans
No one-on-one support with the lowest-cost plan
Digital and physical review book only available with higher-cost plans
Gleim Exam Prep has been publishing accounting review courses since 1980. The company offers various accounting exam prep courses that are among the best in the market, including an EA review course that provides a high level of support and materials with the purchase of a Gleim EA review course.
You can choose from three EA exam prep options ranging in cost from $379.85 to $629.95 . If you buy the lowest-cost product, youll get access to an Enrolled Agent exam test bank and either a digital or physical copy of the review book.
With the highest-cost plan, youll get a physical and digital copy of the book along with adaptive technology to guide you to areas you need to study. Youll be able to take a full-length practice exam six times, receive personal support from a counselor, and earn up to 72 hours of CPE credit. This is helpful if you need to meet your annual CPE requirements while studying for the exam.
The amount of time it will take you to complete this course ranges from a couple of months to up to a year or longer.
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How To Get Certified Copies Of Tax Returns
Its not unusual for taxpayers to find themselves in need of a copy of an already-filed tax return. Perhaps they sent in a return without keeping a copy for themselves, misplaced the copy they did keep or simply lost their paperwork to a fire, flood or other mishap. Even when a personal copy is already available, someone may request an officially certified copy of your tax return. A bank considering a loan application, for example, may only accept a certified tax return for their records. For tax filers who need an IRS-certified copy of an income tax return that is, an official copy of their filed return the IRS is happy to oblige.
Is It Safe To File My Taxes Online
Maybe youre nervous about filing your taxes online. Rest assured that at TurboTax, security is built into everything we do. We use multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and data safeguards to make filing your taxes online safe. Learn more about security at TurboTax.
As well as ensuring that weve taken every security precaution in our products, TurboTax Free connects securely with the government through CRAs Auto-fill my return to import your data into your return and submits your electronic return if you file online through the CRAs NETFILE service. For an additional layer of security when you file online, learn about using the CRAs new NETFILE Access Code to authenticate your identity when you submit your taxes this year.
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What Is A Tax Preparation Course
A tax preparation course will teach you how to prepare federal income taxes. You typically dont need any experience to take these courses except a high school education and basic math knowledge.
After completing a beginning tax preparation course, registering with the IRS as a tax return preparer, and receiving a preparer tax identification number , youll be ready to begin your career as a tax preparer.
Obtain Mva Tax Certifications
The MVA has implemented a process for immigrants, applying for a driver’s license or ID card, that requires them to obtain a certification of tax filings for the preceding two years from the Comptroller’s Office. The MVA requires MVA applicants to obtain online certification of tax filings. For those applicants who are not able to obtain on-line certification, the Comptroller’s Office offers an online scheduling process allowing MVA applicants to schedule an appointment to visit one of our twelve branch offices to obtain the required certification of tax filings.For more information on MVA’s process, please visit MVA’s website. For more information about getting your Tax Certification, visit Obtain MVA Tax Certifications.
Under the Maryland Highway Safety Act of 2013, individuals who were previously unable to obtain a drivers’ license, ID card or moped operators’ permit can now obtain these documents in Maryland.The issuance of the license, permit or identification card is not an acceptable form of identification for federal agencies for certain official purposes.In order to apply for a license/permit, you must follow the steps below:
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How Much Does A Tax Preparer Make And Whats The Average Salary For The Role
The amount of money a preparer can make is largely dependent on whether theyre a sole practitioner or work for a public accounting firm, the number of clients they can handle, and the geographical location of their practice.
So, while many first-year tax preparers may claim a starting salary around the $50,000, year one staff might be somewhere between $30,000-$40,000 at a different firm. And if youre serving as an intern, you might not make anything.
While the salaries of most regional firms will be set before you walk through the doors for your interview, the amount of money a sole practitioner can make is limitless . So, then the questions become: how many clients can you get? How much work can you get through? What kind of software can boost your efficiency and increase throughput?
Some people begin their careers at firms to get the first two years of experience. And then they break away and start a local firm. This allows you to get high-quality training to boost your skills out of the gate.
Several national and seasonal businesses also offer training to their preparers.
Third Option: Tax Attorney
Becoming a tax attorney is another great option for becoming a tax preparer. Tax attorneys are legal professionals who have a law degree and have passed the bar exam. They specialize in the legal side of tax preparation. Not only are these attorneys registered tax return preparers, but they can even prepare a legal defense for a client involved in a tax-related court case. So, if you are ever in trouble with the IRS, a tax attorney is probably who you should call.
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Types Of Taxable Income
You have to report any taxable income you earn inside and outside Canada when you file your tax return. This includes:
- any full-time or part-time work
- self-generated income
- rental income, including renting out a portion of your home
- your pension
You do not have to report certain non-taxable amounts as income, including:
- elementary, secondary and post-secondary school scholarships
Select Your Tax Software
As a tax preparer, youll likely be depending a lot on your tax software for your workflow and for keeping your clients confidential and sensitive information secure.
Here are some considerations when choosing professional tax software to work with.
- Is it from the correct tax year?
- Can you install the software on your desktop, or is it only available online? Or does it come with both versions?
- Is it easy to use?
- Can it handle state tax returns?
- Does it support e-filing?
- Does it include understandable explanations of tax laws?
- Can you organize tax deductions easily?
- Does it have a guarantee?
- Can your provider also help you grow your revenue as you gain experience?
- Are customer support and tax filing assistance included?
- Does it offer the correct tax forms you need to support your clients?
- Does it integrate with other software you need to use?
- Is it cloud-based?
To start you off, here are some of the best and most highly recommended professional tax software you can get:
What Is Our Professional Tax Preparer Certification
Professional Tax Preparer Certification, or PTP Certification, is Universal Accounting Schools unique program that affirms & validates the skills and abilities of an individual to perform tax preparation services for individuals & businesses.
Any accountant or individual can call themselves a tax professional and offer services to help prepare federal tax returns, however the education and expertise of those individuals can vary widely. That is why certification from a reputable brand like Universal Accounting is not only recommended, but so necessary for most business opportunities. Certification clearly distinguishes to any prospective client that the certified individual is in fact a true tax professional with in-depth knowledge and experience into even the most unique tax situations.
Changing legislation in the tax code and health care reform makes expertise in tax preparation & filing taxes more and more of a need. Employers and clients look for respected credentials when choosing to trust a tax professional.
How Much Money Can A Tax Preparer Make
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , tax preparers median annual salary is estimated at $43,080. Overall, BLS annual tax preparer salary estimates range from a low of $21,750 to a high of $87,060.
The amount you can make as a tax preparer depends on your experience, qualifications, and geographic location. The more experience you have and the better your qualifications, the more money youll make. Similarly, if you live in a higher-cost area of the U.S. , you can expect to make more money than if you live in a lower-cost area .
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What Software Do Tax Preparers Use
Thomson Reuters UltraTax CS is a leading professional tax preparation software that automates your entire business whether for individual tax preparation or business clients.
Filled with powerful time-saving tools and features, UltraTax CS gives preparers access to federal, state, and local tax programs including individual, corporate, partnership, estates and trusts, multi-state returns, and many others.
UltraTax CS also offers seamless integration with other Thomson Reuters solutions, including CS Professional Suite and Onvio Firm Management, connecting your entire practice and ensuring that youll never lose time doing a task manually.
From cloud computing to advanced data sharing and paperless processing, UltraTax CS meets all your tax workflow needs with a customizable, end-to-end solution.
What Does A Tax Preparer Need To Prepare Tax Returns
Tax preparers need to efficiently and securely access and manage confidential information for their clients. As a result, most preparers look for software to manage their workflow effectively and efficiently.
Tax software should help preparers in the following ways:
- Learn. You cant know everything. There will always be knowledge gaps and questions from clients that you didnt anticipate. Professional tax software should increase your know-how, the ability to fill knowledge gaps with trusted and meaningful information for your daily work. Something to unstuck you when you dont know how to proceed.
- Research. Every client is different. And that means every answer you provide will need to be tailored to their specific questions and concerns. A tax research software solution can help get the answers when you need to go deeper and retrieve more information.
- Operate. Tax preparation requires a significant amount of day-to-day organization. You need tools to do the work and produce all the necessary forms. From document management solutions to e-filing assistance, tax software should make your operational duties easier, more productive, to do your job with confidence every time.
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