Over time, an increasing number of people have turned away from traditional university education. Many are opting instead for skill-based learning assisted primarily by virtual coaches and courses.
If this sounds like you, tax preparation is an excellent career path that’s certainly worth considering. Not only does it pay well, but you’ll also find yourself with-job during recession periods because taxes are filed every year, without fail.
Tax preparation courses are best suited to candidates who enjoy math and have an analytical mind. Bonus points if you’re fond of problem solving and budgeting, too!
To become an official, IRS-recognized Tax Preparer, you must pass the Enrolled Agent exam. After this, you’ll be able to offer your services to the public for a fee.
So, if you’re genuinely considering tax prep as a career path, you’re in the right place! The internet is brimming with many tax prep courses. However, not all of these are worth pursuing. Instead, you should ideally register with an affordable, non-time consuming, IRS-approved course.
In this article, we’ve listed some of our top course picks. You’ll also find additional valuable information regarding tax preparation careers.
So, are you ready to learn more?
What is A Tax Preparation Course?
As noted above, a tax preparation course can help you pass the Enrolled Agent exam. These courses are designed to help you learn more about tax filing, budgeting, and financial management. The end goal of these programs is to prepare you to become a paid tax preparator who can file for federal income taxes.
The best thing about these courses is that you don’t need anything beyond a simple high school diploma to take them. They’re also remarkably affordable, especially when measured against college costs.
Different courses target different expertise levels. Beginners can easily find and enroll in an introductory course before pursuing tax prep on a larger scale. After gaining some experience with tax prep, you can always come back and take more advanced courses. Completing high-level expert courses will help you pass the EA exam and take your career to the next level.
After passing the EA exam, you’ll receive a unique preparer tax identification number (PTIN). Your name and PTIN will be noted within the IRS records too.
You may also need to take specific tax prep courses to expand your knowledge bank and maintain your EA license. In that case, search for special courses that can grant you CPE credits.
Tax Preparer vs. Accountant
Tax preparers aren’t the same as accountants.
Chartered professional accountants (CPAs) deal with financial issues beyond just taxes. They can also help with intensive tax planning. As a tax preparer, you can help individuals and businesses avoid fraud by preparing their tax files on time.
Plus, many tax preparers work on a contract basis. As a result, tax preparers have relatively flexible schedules. CPAs usually don’t have the same privileges.
How Much Can I Earn as a Tax Preparer?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as a professional, registered tax preparer, you can expect to earn around $46,860 a year. Expanding your services and skill level can help you earn a larger income, though. Suppose you take courses that will help you work with large-scale corporations instead of individuals and small businesses. In that case, you can bump up your median salary by at least $10,000 a year.
What to Look For in a Tax Prep Course
Signing up for a tax prep course isn’t free. Sure, not all courses cost money, but they do cost time. So, before investing your precious time and energy in a tax prep course, check to see if it’s IRS-approved first!
Luckily, the IRS website advertises a list of verified Continuing Education (CE) providers. Anyone can access this list with just a few clicks. We’ve already scoured the list and selected the best IRS-approved tax prep courses available to make things easier for you. You can check out our course reviews below.
In addition to being IRS-approved, you should consider the following things when looking for a suitable tax prep course:
Monetary cost: Some IRS-approved tax courses cost money, while others are free. Of course, if you’re on a tight budget, it’s better to stick to a free course. However, keep in mind that most free programs offer limited resources. However, you’ll still be able to get a legitimate course completion certificate. Still, you likely won’t receive the best possible standard of education.
Also, free courses offer limited teaching hours. This may curb your learning, putting you at a disadvantage to other tax prep pros offering their services after course completion. So, if you plan to pursue tax preparation as an official career, consider investing in a paid course instead. Not only will you learn more effectively, but you’ll also gain access to valuable tools, resources, texts, and guidance from field professionals.
Duration: Each tax prep course has a unique duration. On average, most courses span between 2 to 12 months. The exact length depends on how intensive you’d like your coursework to be. Intermediate and advanced level courses may take longer than foundation ones.
If you’re currently employed or studying at an in-person academy, consider your schedule before committing to a tax prep course. Remember, you’ll likely be paying for the course, so don’t sign up unless you’re able to commit to it truly.
Every course provider has an independent timeline. Some courses may require multiple hours of study on weekdays, while others may have less intensive routines. Select one that fits your criteria best so you don’t burn out!
Level of expertise: If you’re just starting your tax prep journey, look for specialized beginner courses. Experienced individuals should consider intermediate to advanced courses. There are several IRS-approved courses you can take, which we’ll cover in the next section…
Top Picks: IRS-Approved Tax Prep Courses for 2022 by Certifyible.com
Here are our top picks for the best tax prep courses in 2022:
Certifyible’s Business Tax Plan Mastery course is an excellent option for anyone looking to start a tax prep business. As an IRS-approved continuing education provider, Certifiyible’s tax prep courses are guaranteed to help upcoming names in the tax prep field. With approximately 120 students currently enrolled, this course offers to teach you how to manage taxes for clients with businesses.
As a tax prep service, you’ll deal with many small and large businesses that need help with their taxes. This course promises to teach you how to use the tax code in your client’s favor. You’ll learn how to ensure your clients pay the least amount of tax they have to, saving them thousands of dollars. The course will also teach you other effective law strategies.
Some of the things you’ll learn include the tax life cycle of a small business, tax deductions and credits, the tax consequences of life events, and tax plan consultations. Currently, this course is $97.
The IRS 1040 form is one that every tax preparer should have on the tip of their fingertips. This is the document that US residents use to file their annual income tax returns. However, it’s not an easy form to fill. It’s divided into different sections for income and dedications that people have to fill to figure out the amount of tax they must pay or if they are eligible for a refund.
The 1040 form comes in many variations, such as the 1040-SR, 1040-NR, and 1040-X. This Certifiyible course will walk you through the whole 1040 form. It will also teach you how to organize and input data – an important skill to have when computing taxes.
You can also expect to learn about other forms such as the 8949, 88112, and 8863. In addition, you’ll learn how to deal with passive income, non-taxable income, standard, and itemized deductions, as well as filing status. The course is currently priced at $147.
There’s no denying the explosion in virtual currency that has happened in the last few years. More and more people are now investing in virtual currency, and it is now also being considered a legitimate form of payment. This means that tax prep services need to be ready to deal with clients that have virtual currency – whether they just invest in them or actually use them.
This Certifyible course will teach you about the sale and exchange of virtual currency and assets in general as well. You will also learn about the gains or losses on sales of virtual currency, taxable and non-taxable income, recordkeeping requirements, and important industry software you should know about.
The course also gives you a tax and bookkeeping checklist for virtual currency and teaches you how to set up Quickbooks. Priced at $47, it currently holds a 5-star rating.
This course is excellent for both people that have already started their tax prep service and those currently planning to. The 6 figure accelerator course focuses specifically on teaching students how to earn a 6 figure income with their tax prep business.
The course spends a significant amount of time teaching you how to get new clients using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. It also teaches you how to use LinkedIn and Google to find clients. Additionally, you’ll learn how to speak to clients and keep them on board with your business.
A lot of tax prep services also struggle with pricing their services. This Certifiyible course comes with suggested pricing models that can help you price your services. You will also learn how to do virtual onboarding for your clients and how to start group coaching calls.
In addition to the course, you get access to an engineering spreadsheet, a downloadable workbook, and unlimited email support for one year. The course offers all students lifetime access to the content, which includes 50 videos and 54 lessons.
Priced at $1997, this is one of Certifiyible’s most popular courses. You can also choose to pay in a 3-month installment plan at $695 a month or a 6-month plan at $395 a month. If you pay in full for the course, you also get to enjoy 50% off all other Certifiyible courses and get 3 free months of Onboardible.
Tax preparation is the ideal career path for math enthusiasts who would like to pursue a career without attending university. It is also an excellent side-hustle worth considering if you would like to bump up your current income.