There are only two certainties in life, death, and taxes. That is why you rarely see a poor accountant, or for that matter a poor undertaker. For anyone looking for a good career, then gaining your California tax preparer certificate by taking CTEC online courses, could be a very shrewd business move.
Very few people are aware that in the state of California you do not need to complete a full accountancy degree to be qualified to fill out a tax return. Although you will not technically be able to call yourself a qualified accountant, for the purposes of California tax laws, you will be fully qualified to prepare a tax return. When you consider how many people require their taxes to be prepared annually, provided you market your services correctly, this is laying the foundation for a very successful business.
What Qualifications Are Required?
To charge any money for the service of preparing a tax return in California, you must have completed a particular recognized course, and be registered with the California Tax Education Council (CTEC). The only exception to this rule is for attorneys, who are enrolled with the state bar association, and fully qualified accountants, who are registered with the IRS. As a CTEC qualified tax preparer, you must also have a federal registration with the IRS as a registered Tax preparer. Upon completing this secondary requirement, tac preparers will be issued with a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
What Does The Qualification Entail?
To become a certified tax preparer candidates must complete the CTEC 60 hour course. There are some options available to cater for the different learning styles of individuals. You can attend a traditional college course, take the home study option, or an increasingly popular option is the CTEC online courses. To qualify, candidates must ensure they complete the full 60-hour learning package.
Details of approved providers of the course can be found on the CTEC website.
Can I Start Preparing Taxes Instantly Upon Completion of The Course?
Unfortunately, there are still a few more requirements after completing the course successfully. It is a legal obligation to obtain a $5000 tax preparer bond. This is usually a very inexpensive piece of insurance, which can be obtained from the vast majority of local insurance agents.
Should you choose to take the course at an educational establishment, or as a home study course, then you must also register with CTEC before taking on clients. In the vast majority of online courses, your registration details will automatically be sent to CTEC upon completion. NOTE – Never assume that this is the case, always confirm with CTEC that your registration is fully recorded.
Becoming a Certified Tax Preparer is an excellent stepping stone for anyone who feels that they might be interested in accountancy as a career. The cost to qualify is not extortionate, and there will always be a significant number of customers in need of your services. In our opinion, the CTEC online courses are the best option, as your progress is automatically recorded and sent to the relevant authorities upon completion. Just remember that the tax return industry is seasonal so when the tax returns season rolls around, be prepared to be extremely busy.