What does a Tax Preparer do?

how to become a tax preparer

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A tax preparer takes their client’s financial information and completes their taxes, files their taxes, and provides tax advice. They work for accounting departments, tax services, or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They may also file paperwork or assist clients in audits received from the IRS. Watch a video to learn what a tax preparer does:

How to Become a Tax Preparer

become a tax preparer

There is no one route to become a tax preparer. You must have a high school diploma or equivalent and you would receive some on-the-job training. Training usually covers the accounting processes, tax laws, computer programs you must use, and various tax forms you will need to know. Though not required, some employers may prefer applicants that have earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting.

According to O*NET OnLine, 30% of the tax preparers surveyed have a high school diploma or equivalent and almost 50% have earned at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Job Description of a Tax Preparer

A tax preparer ultimately assists clients to file their taxes. This can also include tax preparation as well. They help clients by reviewing their financial documents to gather information on taxable income and deductible expenses. They also look for law allowances that permit their clients to make appropriate adjustments and identify deductions and credits.

A tax preparer also calculates taxes and completes tax forms and may ensure existing calculations made by others are accurate. To answer the client’s questions, they would also access the appropriate reference material to ensure they are giving sound tax advice. Tax preparers must perform their job in accordance with legislation and regulations at the federal and state level. These tax experts must be good active listeners, must have good math skills, strong communication, work with computers, and must be organized.

Tax Preparer Career Video Transcript

Tax preparers prepare tax returns. They help individuals and small business put their documents in order to make filing taxes as accurate and efficient as possible. Preparers begin by interviewing clients about their taxable income, deductible expenses, and any allowances they may be eligible for. Their goal is to minimize their client’s tax bill, while ensuring all tax laws are obeyed.

Preparers use the information from their interviews and client records to complete all necessary tax forms. They compute taxes owed or returns due to be refunded and then give clients instructions for filing their taxes correctly. Often, tax preparers file forms electronically on behalf of their clients. For clients with unusual returns or complicated business affairs, preparers may consult tax law handbooks and bulletins to determine the correct procedure, and explain applicable laws to clients. They also help clients with future tax planning. Tax preparers typically work in offices where they meet with clients. Work schedules often exceed 40 hours a week and are busier as the mid-April tax deadline approaches. Tax preparers are trained on the job and typically need a high school diploma. Some positions may also require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Article Resources

National Center for O*NET Development. 13-2082.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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