Becoming a Tax Preparer: The Ultimate Guide

Becoming a Tax Preparer The Ultimate Guide

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about becoming a tax preparer, including the necessary education and skills, career options, and the benefits of this profession. Whether you’re a recent graduate or someone looking for a career change, this guide will provide valuable insights. So, if you’re ready to learn more about becoming a tax preparer, keep reading!

What is a Tax Preparer?

A tax preparer is a financial professional who helps individuals and businesses prepare and file their tax returns. They are responsible for understanding and interpreting tax laws and regulations, as well as accurately calculating and reporting their clients’ tax liabilities. They play a crucial role in ensuring that tax returns are compliant with federal, state, and local tax codes.

Tax preparers can work for themselves, as part of a tax preparation firm, or within a larger accounting firm. They may also specialize in a particular area of taxation, such as personal income tax, corporate tax, or international tax. Their expertise can span across various tax-related services, including tax planning, audit representation, and even resolving tax controversies.

Education and Skills Required to Become a Tax Preparer
Education and Skills Required to Become a Tax Preparer

Education and Skills Required to Become a Tax Preparer

To become a tax preparer, you’ll need a combination of education and skills. Here are the key requirements for this profession:

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field: While a bachelor’s degree is not always required, most employers prefer candidates with a degree in accounting or a related field. This coursework will provide you with a solid foundation in accounting principles, tax laws, and financial reporting. Some tax preparers, however, may enter the field with an associate degree or relevant tax preparation courses and work experience.
  • Certification or licensing: Many states require tax preparers to obtain a license or get certified before they can legally prepare and file tax returns. These requirements vary by state, so be sure to research the specific requirements for your location. Certifications such as the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) and Enrolled Agent (EA) can enhance your credibility and marketability in the field.
  • The Universal Accounting Center offers a flexible Professional Tax Preparer certification course, typically taking 4 to 6 weeks. You’ll get access to the UAC TAX software and receive hands-on training from experienced coaches. This prepares you for a fulfilling career in tax preparation. With a focus on exam review and preparation, you can boost your readiness for the EA exams. This is a crucial step towards becoming a certified Enrolled Agent, a respected title in the tax field.

Your business is an asset. You should know its value and understand how to maximize it.

  • Attention to detail: As a tax preparer, you’ll be responsible for accurately calculating and reporting your clients’ tax liabilities. This requires a high level of attention to detail to ensure that no errors are made. Mistakes on tax returns can lead to penalties for both the tax preparer and the client, making precision a critical aspect of the job.
  • Strong communication skills: Tax preparers must be able to effectively communicate complex tax laws and regulations to their clients in a way that is easy to understand. They must also be able to communicate with government agencies on behalf of their clients. Clear and effective communication is essential for building trust and maintaining long-term client relationships.
  • Knowledge of tax laws and regulations: A thorough understanding of tax laws and regulations is critical for success as a tax preparer. This includes staying up-to-date on changes to tax laws and regulations as they occur. Continuing education is often required for maintaining certifications and staying informed about the latest tax codes and procedures.
  • Organizational skills: Tax preparers often have multiple clients with different tax needs and deadlines. Strong organizational skills are essential to ensure that all clients’ tax returns are completed accurately and on time. The ability to manage and prioritize tasks effectively is key to succeeding in this fast-paced and deadline-driven profession.

Career Options for Tax Preparers

Becoming a tax preparer opens up a variety of career options within the financial services industry. Here are some of the most common career paths for tax preparers:

Tax Consultant

Tax consultants provide expert advice to individuals and businesses on tax planning and strategy. They help their clients minimize their tax liabilities and maximize their tax refunds, and they may also assist with tax audits and disputes with government agencies. Their role often involves creating customized tax solutions that align with the financial goals of their clients.

Tax Accountant
Tax Accountant

Tax Accountant

Tax accountants prepare and file tax returns on behalf of their clients. They are responsible for ensuring that their clients’ tax returns are completed accurately and on time, and they may also provide tax planning advice to help clients minimize their tax liabilities. In larger organizations, tax accountants may work as part of a team that focuses on different aspects of the company’s tax obligations.

Tax Specialist

Tax specialists focus on a particular area of taxation, such as personal income tax, corporate tax, or international tax. They have in-depth knowledge and expertise in their chosen area and may work for accounting firms or corporations. These specialists often become the go-to experts for complex tax issues within their field of specialization.

Tax Advisor

Tax advisors provide tax planning and strategy advice to individuals and businesses. They help their clients understand the impact of tax laws and regulations on their financial decisions and assist with tax planning to minimize their tax liabilities. Tax advisors may also work closely with financial planners to integrate tax strategies into a comprehensive financial plan.

Tax Preparer Career

Many tax preparers choose to focus solely on tax preparation as their career path. They may work for tax preparation firms or start their own tax preparation business. These professionals are responsible for preparing and filing tax returns on behalf of their clients and ensuring that all tax laws and regulations are followed. Entrepreneurial tax preparers may find satisfaction in growing their own client base and building a successful practice.

Tax Professional

Tax professionals are experts in tax laws and regulations and provide advice and guidance to individuals and businesses on tax planning and strategy. They may also represent their clients in tax disputes and assist with tax audits. Their expertise is essential for navigating the complexities of the tax system and for making informed decisions.

Tax Expert

Tax experts have extensive knowledge and expertise in tax laws and regulations and provide guidance and advice to individuals and businesses on complex tax issues. They may also serve as expert witnesses in tax-related court cases. Their specialized knowledge is often sought after by organizations dealing with high-stakes tax matters.

Benefits of Becoming a Tax Preparer
Benefits of Becoming a Tax Preparer

Benefits of Becoming a Tax Preparer

Becoming a tax preparer offers a variety of benefits, making it an attractive career option for those interested in the financial services industry. Here are some of the top benefits of becoming a tax preparer:

Career Growth Opportunities

Becoming a professional tax preparer unlocks new career opportunities and advancement within the field of taxation. Whether aiming for higher-level roles within an organization or establishing oneself as a tax specialist in private practice, advanced certification offers a competitive edge in the job market.

Follow the turnkey process by Universal Accounting Center to secure your desired position as a Professional Tax Preparer.



The ability to start and build a successful business offering quality tax services is a significant advantage. Each year, the demand for tax services increases as more professionals retire from the field than enter it, creating a wonderful opportunity. Whether you choose to provide tax preparation services for individuals or businesses, including tax planning and advisory services, this is a venture worth considering.

High Demand for Tax Preparers

As long as there are taxes, there will be a need for tax preparers. With the constantly changing tax laws and regulations, individuals and businesses need the expertise of tax preparers to ensure that their tax returns are completed accurately and on time. This high demand for tax preparers means that job opportunities in this field are plentiful and can offer job security.

Competitive Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for tax preparers in the United States is $44,990, with the top 10% earning over $83,000 per year. This competitive salary makes becoming a tax preparer a financially rewarding career choice. Additionally, with experience and specialization, tax preparers have the potential to earn even higher salaries.

Flexible Work Options

Tax preparers have the option to work for themselves or for an employer, providing better employment flexibility in their work schedule. This flexibility allows tax preparers to work part-time, full-time, or seasonally, depending on their preferences and availability. The ability to set their own hours and choose their clients makes tax preparation an attractive profession for those seeking better employment and work-life balance.


The IRS will expand its free tax filing program, Direct File, nationwide starting in 2025, as announced by the agency and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Following a successful pilot in 12 states, the program will now be available in all 50 states. Over 140,000 users filed returns with Direct File in 2024, saving an estimated $5.6 million in tax preparation fees. The expansion aims to support the most common tax situations, particularly those affecting working families.

The IRS will provide more details about the expanded program and participating states later this year. Direct File will serve as an additional option for taxpayers, complementing the existing Free File partnership with private tax software companies.

Conclusion 2


If you’re interested in a career in the financial services industry, becoming a tax preparer is an excellent option to consider. With a strong demand for tax preparers, competitive salaries, and opportunities for career growth, it’s a career path that offers a variety of benefits. So, if you have a passion for numbers and a keen eye for detail, start exploring the education and certification requirements for tax preparers in your state and take the first step towards a successful career in tax preparation.

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