There are many different tax preparation services to choose from, and the right one for you depends on your needs. The best ones have sterling reputations, fair pricing schedules, and extra services like flexible in-person hours. Some even offer tax planning, which can help you prepare for the next tax season.
Choosing the Right Preparer
The qualifications for a tax preparer vary widely, but generally speaking, it requires a high school diploma and some formal training or certification in accounting or other related fields. In addition, a tax professional should have experience working with both personal and business taxes.
A tax preparer is responsible for ensuring that each client’s return is accurate and in accordance with the applicable laws. This can include completing tax forms, checking that calculations are correct, and providing instruction for filing the returns.
They also keep track of changes in the federal and state tax codes, as well as any technical corrections that may need to be made. They use this information to make sure that they are giving their clients accurate and timely advice.
How to Become a Tax Preparer
The process for becoming a tax preparer involves applying for and receiving a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) and electronic filing identification number (EFIN). PTINs are issued by the IRS, and EFINs are issued by the states. The process for obtaining both is free and can be done through the IRS website.
How to Become an Enrolled Agent or CPA
These tax professionals are licensed by the IRS and have completed a number of required courses and exams in tax law, accounting methods, and other areas. They are able to represent an individual before the IRS on any issues that arise with the tax return, and can assist their clients in filing appeals.
What to Know About a CPA or EA
These professionals have extensive tax experience and can handle complex corporate matters and tax disputes. They are also experienced in preparing returns and have extensive knowledge of the latest tax regulations and laws.
What to Know About a Tax Attorney
A tax attorney is a professional who has graduated from an accredited law school, passed their state bar exam, and specializes in complex tax matters. They are also skilled at arguing in court.
What to Know About a Non-Credentialed Preparer
A non-credentialed tax preparer does not have to meet the requirements of a third-party issuing organization to prepare federal and state returns. Instead, they may be self-taught or work in a local tax preparation store on a seasonal basis.
How to Get an EFIN
An electronic filing identification number is required for preparers who are approved by the IRS to e-file federal and state returns. This number is given by the IRS and does not expire. It can be obtained by applying for it on the IRS website and passing a suitability check.
If you are interested in pursuing a career as a tax preparer, the most important thing is to ensure that your resume contains all of the qualifications listed above. This will help you stand out among other applicants and make it easier for you to secure a job with a tax preparation service or firm that you feel comfortable with.