How to Become a Tax Preparer: Your Complete Guide
February 23, 2021
Almost everyone must pay or file taxes once in a while, and due to the intricacies of tax regulations, most people ask experts to help them with it. The tax preparation niche is growing exponentially, as several studies indicate. This means that there’s no better time to consider a career in this niche. This article intends to look at all you need to become a tax preparer, the time it will take, and the necessary certifications and resources you must have. Check out the Tax Shark website to find out more about this booming industry.
Professional tax preparers have some distinct skill set that helps them navigate their career. You might not have these skills now, but you can always acquire them as you progress in your studies. These skills include:
1- You need to develop an eye for the smallest details. You cannot afford to make mistakes while calculating or forget a zero in your documents, as this can result in a grave error and unprecedented expenses. However, no one is perfect, and that is why software can help you out without any chance of error. It would also be best if you acquired the habit of cross-checking any form prepared by interns or non-experienced tax preparers.
2- You must be able to do several things at the same time. This includes getting in touch with many people at once or working on multiple tasks in a day. This is because tax preparation is a steady job that demands your all and attention. You do not want to keep clients waiting unnecessarily if you wish to be successful in the industry.
3- You must be math literate. Truly, most of the math you need will be handled by the software you use, but having a good background in the subject can help you navigate the field quickly and help you pick up the pace.
4- You must have a great rapport with clients. Usually, you will have to talk with lots of clients and help them with the best deals they can get. Hence, you must be able to forge great interpersonal and communication skills.
How to go about it
The best approach to becoming a tax preparer is to have a mapped out and clear plan. This will assist you in having a clear idea of your aims during your studies. Ensure that your plan is very accommodating and flexible at the same time.
The first way is to get a degree. This will pave the way for a fulfilling career. You can’t be a tax preparer without it. Hence, you need to earn one in related disciplines such as accounting and finance. You can make a periodic assessment of your interest in the course and opt-out for another major if that is not serving the purpose you want. You are expected to complete the program in approximately four years.
The next thing is to get an internship spot in a tax service firm. During this stage, you will learn a lot about your future career and know about the loopholes within and the reward you hope to expect. Typically, you are to use a semester for the program and get paid. Some firms, however, do not pay their interns. Whichever option you end up with, you can get your internship extended if you do a good job.
When you graduate, you should be getting ready to kick start your career. In most states, you must pass an exam and obtain a license for the job. You also need to get an identification number from the inland revenue service. Get in touch with your lecturers to put you through each stage and requirement. Some places require that you obtain other special certifications and licenses to practice as a tax preparer.
The last stage after fulfilling and getting all the requirements is to start job hunting. Usually, tax season in most states starts at the beginning of the year. Hence, you must have started jin hunting like four months prior. Doing this will afford you ample time to learn the nitty-gritty of the job before a real-life business begins.
We mentioned above that you need a degree to get verified as a tax preparer. This is true but doesn’t guarantee that you will get the job. The market is semi-saturated and demands people that can prove very, very versatile through several certifications. The degree is merely a minimum starting point. However, if you have some accounting-related credentials, you will have the upper hand in the labor market. If you can fasten your degree program, that will be best as you will become available for employment sooner than most people. It would be best to consider online programs to allow you to commit to some extracurricular activities while you study.