IRS Tax Certification & IRS Tax Preparation Course: A Guide

IRS-certified tax preparation could become an integral and profitable part of your accounting business. Every citizen of the United States is legally obligated to prepare and pay taxes. What better way to expand your accounting business and your income than by offering tax preparation services certified to work with the IRS? If you are an individual accountant, tax preparation and certification services can mean an increase in your income by hundreds of dollars or more. If you are employed, becoming certified may mean a promotion and give you an edge over your competition. If you are looking for employment, having these certifications makes you much more employable, and if you are looking to start your own accounting firm, this is an effective way to gain clients. Whole businesses can be created that solely do tax preparation work.

What Is IRS Tax Certification?

Someone who is an IRS-certified tax preparer will have unlimited representation rights of their clients in the eyes of the IRS. They are certified to prepare all matters in dealing with the IRS, including the payment of taxes, navigating audits should they happen, and preparing and submitting appeals if an error happens on the part of the IRS. A certified tax preparer has the right to charge and be paid for their services.

What Makes a Successful Tax Preparer?

A person who is a successful tax preparer will be a professional and trusted individual their clients can rely on. People who hire an IRS-certified tax preparer are trusting that individual with very personal information. They trust this professional with sensitive income information, medical information from bills and insurance payments, marital information, and other information that could lead to some serious consequences if they fall into the wrong hands.

Certification is one of the most important aspects of being a successful tax preparer. When a certified tax preparer has learned from the best and has trusted educational courses listed on their resume, a potential client or employer will feel confident that this person is right for the job.

How Do I Become Certified as a Tax Preparer?

While some compensated tax preparers are not certified, this is not usually a realistic option for anyone serious about increasing their salary from this line of work. Certification is the only way to have unlimited representation rights of the people they are preparing taxes for. The way to this certification is through education, and these training courses should be listed on the IRS website as approved educational classes.

Many people don’t realize that hands-on tax preparation training can be done online from the convenience of their homes. Online certification courses can be completed during flexible hours when they are available. There is no need to decide between work and family responsibilities and furthering one’s education when quality certification courses when they have control over when and where to get the work done.

What Does a Quality Certification Program Include?

High-quality tax preparation certification courses such as the ones offered by Universal Accounting will include the latest up-to-date knowledge of current tax laws, as well as the changes in tax laws for each upcoming year. They will thoroughly familiarize the student with all state and federal tax forms and how to fill them out correctly.

However, quality certification education is not just about instruction on how to fill out tax forms. Quality instruction will guide students through real-life scenarios that they will encounter once they take on their clients. They will also familiarize students with the latest technology to aid in their success as tax preparers. It will give them real-world marketing skills to use when promoting their own business or accounting firm.

If you are enrolled in a high-quality certification program, you will be assigned to coaches who have real-world experience. Instead of sitting in a classroom trying to learn from someone out of touch, you should be guided through the education and certification process by someone who has worked in the industry and knows what it is like to be a successful and profitable tax preparer.

The best certification programs have courses that can aid someone in all aspects of the tax preparation business. This includes guidance on creating a resume that will make you stand out in the eyes of potential employers. They will have resources that help you practice and hone your interviewing skills to impress the people evaluating you during job interviews. Universal Accounting School offers resources that you can use to find the businesses in need of IRS-certified tax preparers so that you know where to go next once you earn that certification.

What Should I Expect After Being Certified?

Once you are certified as a tax preparer with IRS recognition, it will be time to get an IRS preparer tax identification number or PTIN. You can register for a PTIN on the IRS website. Once you receive your PTIN, it is official, and you can proudly put that number down on every tax form you prepare. This tells your clients that you are a trusted person who will handle their tax information with the highest professionalism and confidentiality and shows the IRS that you understand their business.

After receiving a PTIN, the next step many tax preparers take is to become members of several professional organizations. These organizations carefully vet their members, and once you qualify for membership, you can advertise those credentials. These organizations include:

  • American Academy of Attorneys
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • National Association of Enrolled Agents
  • National Association of Tax Professionals
  • National Conference of CPA Practitioners
  • National Society of Accountants
  • National Society of Tax Professionals

Is Becoming an IRS-Certified Tax Preparer Worth My Time?

Becoming a certified tax preparer is an effective way to bring in new clients to your accounting business, and it is an integral skill to have before starting your own accounting firm. Certification looks excellent on a resume and presenting a PTIN number assures clients of your credibility and professionalism. It is common for someone’s salary to increase, sometimes very much so, once they become certified. Tax season is not something many American citizens look forward to, and having a knowledgeable person to help them through makes it a better experience for everyone. Get in touch with Universal Accounting today to find out more.

How to Start a Tax Preparation Business

Your Guide for Starting a Home Tax Preparation Business

If you have any interest in a career as a tax preparation professional, it’s important to know that you aren’t stuck with the choice between working for a large accounting company or at a local branch of a nationwide tax preparation service. It’s possible to have a lucrative and fulfilling career as a work from home tax preparer if you have the right credentials and experience. Working from home offers tremendous freedom and flexibility. If you want to start a tax preparation practice out of your home, you should have some idea of what to expect.


Why Start a Tax Preparation Practice From Home?

Tax preparation is a field that offers job security. With compound annual industry growth and a consistent need for tax professionals nationwide, a certified tax preparer will never be out of work for long. While a tax preparation professional can likely find a job at one of the thousands of tax preparation services operating in the United States, many modern tax preparers are opting for opening their own home-based practices instead. In fact, out of the more than 80 million tax returns prepared each year, only about 23% go through tax preparation company franchises. The vast majority of Americans who file tax returns prefer to work with smaller tax preparation companies, most of which have less than ten employees.

To start a tax preparation business from your home, finding clients is your first priority. Even outside of tax return season, many home-based tax preparation professionals offer their clients a wide range of tax-related services, from managing their business taxes to navigating various tax-related issues through the Internal Revenue Service or state revenue departments. However, the availability of clients is just one of the reasons many modern tax professionals are choosing to work from home. This type of working arrangement offers several distinct benefits:

  • A work from home tax preparation professional can set his or her own schedule. Work as hard as you want, as often as you want, with as many clients as you want once you put in the necessary effort to attract a client base.
  • Working from home makes it much easier to manage work-life balance and handle family life. A tax professional working from home can provide in-home childcare and not have to worry about the expenses of daycare.
  • A work from home tax preparer has minimal overhead. To start a tax preparation business out of your home, you need to obtain the necessary software, office supplies, and technology to do your work, but you won’t need to worry about additional property expenses that would come with owning office space or payroll for employees.
  • You can grow in the future. If you want something more than just a side gig for extra income and dream of expanding your practice beyond a one-person operation, your experience working from home can empower you for your professional future.
  • Working from home remotely allows you to provide tax preparation services to clients outside your local area, offering even more opportunities to expand your practice in the future.
  • All you need when it comes to office space is room in your home to do your work efficiently and a clean, comfortable area to meet with clients in person.

Of all the incredible benefits of working from home, perhaps the best is a complete freedom and day-to-day flexibility that comes when you start a tax preparation practice in your home.


Get Your Home Tax Preparation Business Started the Right Way

Running your own tax preparation practice does come to the responsibility of finding your own clients, managing your own expenses, and truly being your own boss. You need to ensure you have adequate resources for handling your clients’ needs. This includes office equipment, communication technology, and the necessary software for handling each client’s individual tax-related issues.

You also need to prepare your home to accommodate your business. This is easier for some than others, but ultimately you just need a quiet and comfortable workspace and a place to meet with clients if you plan to meet with them in person. You may also need to upgrade your tech; the right software, a newer computer, and a quality printer are crucial.

If you work with clients from your local area, you’re going to need the appropriate forms for filing local, state, and federal tax returns for them. You will also need to handle your own business expenses and tax obligations. To grow your tax preparation practice beyond a one-person operation, you can delegate these responsibilities to other employees. To become more financially stable, you may want to handle these tasks yourself.

Before you can start working from home as a tax preparer, you need to complete the necessary coursework to obtain your tax preparation certification. Depending on where you live and where you plan to practice, you’re going to need to navigate federal as well as state-level requirements. Having some professional guidance in this regard can be a tremendous asset and help you streamline the process of getting your work-from-home tax preparation business up and running. You may also need assistance completing your certification, and Universal Accounting can help.


Complete Required Coursework and Certification With Expert Assistance

When you first start working from home as a professional tax preparer, your first clients might be friends, family members, and neighbors, but you could quickly expand to helping other local business owners with their tax-related issues. Having the right certification is a necessity for opening such a business, but going a step further and learning how to truly take charge of your business can make working from home more efficient and rewarding.

Universal Accounting offers a wide range of courses designed to empower you as a business owner. Unlike other tax preparation courses, you can complete the Universal Accounting tax preparation course in a matter of weeks instead of months and hit the ground running with the tools you need to guide your tax preparation business into the future.

Whether you want to supplement your income by providing tax preparation services out of your home or grow into a larger business in the future, Universal Accounting offers the courses and tools you will need for success. Call us today at (877) 833-7909 for more information about our tax professional courses and how we can help you start working from home as a professional tax preparer.

Is Your Job Satisfying?


Are you looking for the Wellspring of Professional Gratification?

He has spent all his life in letting down empty buckets into empty wells; and he is frittering away his age in trying to draw them up again. – Sydney Smith

How much time have you wasted trying to draw empty buckets from empty wells by working tirelessly at an unfulfilling job?  You

spend more time working than you do just about anything else.  Is it both mentally and financially rewarding? Or do you count the hours every day, waiting for your day job to end so you can get back to your real life?

It’s a new year—time to take control of your career and steer it towards a more gratifying professional future.  And as you consider an occupation that is both satisfying and lucrative, we suggest you look for two things: 1) a service that is in demand, and 2) something about which you can get a little excited.

Consider tax preparation.

What?  No, really.  Tax preparation.  Nearly every individual and every business is legally required to submit a tax return (talk about a prospective client base!).  In addition, not many people like to do their own taxes, and the truth is many are leery to try.  And with increasingly complex tax regulations, who can blame them?  Thus, tax preparation will always be a service that is in demand.

Enter the Professional Tax Preparer who can expertly prepare both individual and business returns with grace and ease, submit them faster than a speeding bullet and file any necessary extensions in a single bound.  Okay, so maybe tax preparation isn’t that brand of super, but it is pretty cool.  And if you possess a penchant for numbers, you just might be able to get a little excited about tax services.

Increase Your Options and Your Earning Potential

Becoming a tax preparer opens up countless career options.  You could supplement your current income with part-time work in the evenings or on the weekends.  You could expand your bookkeeping service by adding tax preparation to your menu.  Or you could replace your full-time income by becoming a Professional Tax Preparer.  Whichever option appeals to you, the training necessary to become a tax preparer isn’t as long and painful as you might expect.  Universal Accounting Center has made it easy.

Our Professional Tax Preparer program includes the following:

  • Informative video instruction
  • Full 1040 training
  • Full business return (1065, 1120, 1120S) training
  • One Year Follow-up Support from expert tax preparers

Many programs will lecture you on tax law and preparation practices, but Universal’s program is much more effective because it provides you with the hands-on practice that will perfect your skills.  Theory is taught as guiding principles, but the focus is on actually doing taxes to gain proficiency.

The PTP course consists of 20 hours of video training. Most tax preparation courses include books and some worksheets. Our training uses engaging and entertaining tax preparers who give practical advice on tax issues; they also provide real-world solutions that will give you the edge in productivity and profitability. Our instructors know what challenges you will face because they have been there themselves.

You know better than anyone whether or not it’s time for you to move to another well.  If you’re looking for a wellspring of professional gratification, enroll in the Professional Tax Preparer program today.  Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to get started now!

Money ≠ Success

In a recent article, author and entrepreneur Jan Verleur shares “4 Reasons Not to Confuse Early-Stage Money for Success.”  He begins by explaining, “Don’t get me wrong—capital is great.  It facilitates growth.  And in some ways, it validates your business.  But the way we position it today, as the definition of success, has created an environment where startups are chasing money too early.  They want it before they’ve even launched.” 

While securing funding for your business does have some pros, there are also a number of cons.  He goes on to explain how that can prove dangerous for entrepreneurs.  Here we share three of his four reasons why:

1. You lose control.  When you have investors contribute to your startup, they generally like to contribute to business decisions as well.  And often what you believe to be best for your business is not the same thing investors believe to be best.

2. You scale too soon.  When you have a lot of cash on hand, you may be tempted to grow your business before your business is actually ready for that growth.  Renting a big office space, filling it with expensive equipment and hiring additional employees just because you have the capital to do so doesn’t mean your clientele will expand likewise.  A business often benefits from going through traditional growing pains that ensure a practice’s ultimate health and longevity.

3. Your culture suffers.  Akin to appreciating something more when you’ve paid for it by yourself, building your company from the ground up will become an endeavor that you’re much more invested in because it’s all your own. Verleur explains, “The best way for a startup to evolve is to be challenged by a lack of resources.  It forces you to think outside of the box and seek out solutions in the unexpected.  This is why bootstrapping is the ultimate approach toward developing the ideal company culture.  It makes a team smarter and more capable.”

In conclusion, Verleur is not against obtaining outside capital for a startup, but he does find value in businesses that have been launched by entrepreneurs who are not “chasing money out of the gate as a point of validation.”  Investors, he claims, will eventually come to you once they’ve seen the successful venture you have built with your own two hands.

Professional Tax Preparer (PTP)

One way to ensure your success as a financial professional is to add tax preparation services to your offerings.  Many tax preparers make more money in the months leading up to the April 15 tax deadline than others make all year long! Since all individuals and businesses, small or large, are required to file taxes, tax preparation is a respected skill that will always be in demand.  Also, more and more are becoming weary of tax preparers without any credentials.  The Tax Preparer Designation will put many of those individuals at ease, assuring them that you have been properly trained in tax preparation.

Act now to solidify your business success by increasing your service offerings.  Call Universal at 1 -877-833-7908 to enroll in this amazing program now!


Verleur, Jan.  “4 Reasons Not to Confuse Early-Stage Money for Success.”  12 November 2014

Increase in 2015 Tax Benefits

profit-expertDue to inflation adjustments, more than 40 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, have been changed for the 2015 tax year.  In a recent press release, the IRS shared those changes of greatest interest to most taxpayers:

  • The tax rate of 39.6 percent affects singles whose income exceeds $413,200 ($464,850 for married taxpayers filing a joint return), up from $406,750 and $457,600, respectively. The other marginal rates – 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent – and the related income tax thresholds are described in the revenue procedure.

  • The standard deduction rises to $6,300 for singles and married persons filing separate returns and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly, up from $6,200 and $12,400, respectively, for tax year 2014. The standard deduction for heads of household rises to $9,250, up from $9,100.

  • The limitation for itemized deductions to be claimed on tax year 2015 returns of individuals begins with incomes of $258,250 or more ($309,900 for married couples filing jointly).

  • The personal exemption for tax year 2015 rises to $4,000, up from the 2014 exemption of $3,950. However, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $258,250 ($309,900 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $380,750 ($432,400 for married couples filing jointly.)

  • The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2015 is $53,600 ($83,400, for married couples filing jointly). The 2014 exemption amount was $52,800 ($82,100 for married couples filing jointly).

  • The 2015 maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,242 for taxpayers filing jointly who have 3 or more qualifying children, up from a total of $6,143 for tax year 2014. The revenue procedure has a table providing maximum credit amounts for other categories, income thresholds and phaseouts.

  • Estates of decedents who die during 2015 have a basic exclusion amount of $5,430,000, up from a total of $5,340,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2014.

  • For 2015, the exclusion from tax on a gift to a spouse who is not a U.S. citizen is $147,000, up from $145,000 for 2014.

  • For 2015, the foreign earned income exclusion breaks the six-figure mark, rising to $100,800, up from $99,200 for 2014.

  • The annual exclusion for gifts remains at $14,000 for 2015.

  • The annual dollar limit on employee contributions to employer-sponsored healthcare flexible spending arrangements (FSA)  rises to $2,550, up $50 dollars from the amount for 2014.

  • Under the small business health care tax credit, the maximum credit is phased out based on the employer’s number of full-time equivalent employees in excess of 10 and the employer’s average annual wages in excess of $25,800 for tax year 2015, up from $25,400 for 2014. 

For more information on recent IRS tax news, please visit their official site at

Increase Your Options and Your Earning Potential

Tax law is continually changing, and because it can be difficult for individuals and small businesses to stay ahead of these changes, they generally enlist the help of a tax professional.  As an accountant, becoming a tax preparer enables you to increase your competitive advantage and your earning potential by taking advantage of this continual need!  And the training necessary to become a tax preparer isn’t as long and painful as you might expect.  Universal Accounting Center has made it easy.

Our Professional Tax Preparer program includes the following:

  • Informative video instruction
  • Full 1040 training
  • Full business return (1065, 1120, 1120S) training
  • One year follow-up Support from expert tax preparers 

The PTP course consists of 20 hours of video training. Most tax preparation courses include books and some worksheets. Our training uses engaging and entertaining tax preparers who give practical advice on tax issues; they also provide real-world solutions that will give you the edge in productivity and profitability. Our instructors know what challenges you will face because they have been there themselves. Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to enroll today.

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