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How do I become a Certified IRS Tax Preparer

How do I become a Certified IRS Tax Preparer?

If you’re an accounting or business enthusiast and planning to integrate your interests with taxation, you must have thought about how do I become a certified IRS tax preparer at least once in your life. The impact of tax, legislation and regulatory developments is continuously ascending throughout the world of multinational business. The success of your organization depends on such progressions which are extremely significant to the business operations and transactions between countries.

What Does a Tax Preparer Do?

Technically, tax preparers offer their services to only two parties: their clients and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Filing and assisting generalized tax forms and defending a taxpayer with the IRS are the foundational duties of a tax preparer. It also includes audits and tax court issues.


Tax preparers serve as a helping hand to reduce the burden of taxes as well as make the clients comply with the federal tax codes of their states. However, the extent to which the responsibilities of a tax preparer expand depends on the credentials, relevant experiences, and representative rights.

How to Become a Tax Advisor?

A typical day in the life of a tax consultant, also referred to as a how to become a tax advisor, revolves around studying and researching a notice of tax liability and recommending a strategy while filing a pending tax return and meeting with the IRS to handle disputes, if any.

The experts providing tax consulting services aim to serve individuals and businesses with constant support and guidance about tax-related issues. They make sure the people are paying the correct amount as tax. Their job is to prepare and submit tax returns, conduct extensive research on tax laws, inform and advise on tax planning, and represent clients in disputes with tax authorities.

These jobs are subject to change as you receive professional promotions and grow in the organization you’re working with in a way that it gets more inclined towards tax planning and management. Advising your teammates and other stakeholders to conduct tax research also becomes a part of your job.

Guide: How do I Become a Certified IRS Tax Preparer?

A comprehensive guide on becoming a certified IRS tax preparer involves a series of basic steps which are essential to follow.

1. Educational Qualifications

Regarding ‘How do I become a Certified IRS Tax Preparer?’, the minimum education required is either a high-school diploma or a graduation degree in taxation or a relevant field such as financial management, business administration, accounting, or law.

It is recommended to pick theoretical and practical courses that are close to these subjects because they’ll be extremely beneficial to build a strong sense of basic knowledge that is required to step into the practicing field.

2. Hand-on Training & Experience

To advance in your career, it is essential to get hands-on training and experience. For this purpose, technical schools and community colleges offer preparatory courses on taxation. During this study, it would be better to avail yourself of the earliest opportunity to join hands with a taxation organization as a trainee or internee, steadily excelling towards permanent employment status starting from entry-level and progressing to seniority over time.

Taxpayer interviews and filing status, tax codes of a country, calculations of refunds, annual filings, and taxation reformations are some of the common topics to be covered in the accreditation programs.

3. Legitimate Tax Identification Numbers

Now that you’ve got an education, training, and beginner-level experience, it is time to register for Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) through the IRS because the journey to ‘How do I Become a Certified IRS Tax Preparer?’ actually starts from here.

To get yourself registered, you need to fill out an application form and participate in the screening procedure. Upon qualifying for the screening, you’ll become an unenrolled preparer. This position provides you with a clearance to file for basic tax returns for individuals and businesses. However, this step is variable concerning the country or state you’re living in.

4. Tax Preparer Licensing

Acquiring a license to practice as a tax preparer is essential for you to practice freely. Further additional requirements depend on the country you reside.

What is the IRS Tax Preparer Certification?

As a tax preparer, to be granted your Preparer Tax Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service is imperative. With your PTIN, you can file tax returns on behalf of others, but it does not authorize CPA or lawyer services such as advice and tax preparation services.

Enrolled Agents

Another possibility for career growth could be becoming an enrolled agent. Enrolled agents have passed rigorous exams administered by the Internal Revenue Service and earned one of its highest tax credentials, known as Enrolled Agent Certification, by meeting ongoing education requirements to keep their certification.

How Does One Become a Work-From-Home Tax Preparer? 

One can become an independent tax preparer by working for a company, contracting independently, or starting a business. Plenty of remote tax preparation positions are available – you just need your identification numbers and apply!

How Long Does It Take to Become a Tax Preparer? 

Technically, becoming an IRS-approved PTIN and EFIN tax preparer takes as long as it takes them to process your applications and send you numbers; however, developing as a client-focused tax professional takes longer.

Most tax preparers spend their first two years learning the intricacies of doing their work correctly. Through experience gained during this period, tax professionals can increase their knowledge. Each preparer’s timeline may vary based on experience and current tax knowledge.


The time required to complete all the steps of ‘How do I Become a Certified IRS Tax Preparer?’ could be as short as one year or as long as three years. This duration is dependent on your specific time frame and the pace at which you’re progressing with leaps and bounds. Tax preparation as a career is on the rise and offers necessary and welcoming services to clients in a way to make them follow the financial regulations of a country while simultaneously reducing the burden of tax.

Read More: How to Become a Tax Consultant?