Tax Preparer

Tax Preparer

What is a Tax Preparer?

A tax preparer is a specialist who assists clients in completing and filing their tax returns. They may work with individuals or companies. Tax preparers typically help those who have more complex tax situations and thus prefer to use the assistance of a professional rather than file taxes on their own. You may specialize in helping a particular type of client in this field, such as small business owners, investors with a significant amount of funds, or major corporations. 

A tax preparer will help clients make sure that they’re in compliance with all tax laws and regulations. They will also help identify any credits that the client is eligible for. Customers usually work with a tax preparer because they believe that this will help them maximize their refund or minimize the amount that they owe. Tax preparers work with both state and federal taxes. 

Work for tax preparers follows a distinct cycle, with a massive influx of work between the beginning of the year and April 15, and a sharp decline with minimal work during the rest of the year. When it’s not tax season, those with a specialty in tax preparation may work as tax examiners, reviewing filed tax returns, or as tax collectors, who are responsible for contacting taxpayers who haven’t filed properly.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Completing tax returns for individuals or businesses 
  • Exploring potential tax credits 
  • Calculating tax deductions 
  • Assisting clients in understanding complex tax codes 
  • Verifying all sums included on the taxes 
  • Resolving customer issues and concerns with their taxes 
  • Submitting completed tax returns to the appropriate state and federal agencies 
  • Providing a copy of the tax returns to clients 
  • Assisting clients with any tax issues post-filing  

What is the Job Outlook for Tax Preparers?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t maintain records specific to tax preparers. However, they do collect data on tax examiners and collectors and revenue agents, which is the closest equivalent. About 4,100 openings for tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Where do Tax Preparers Work?

According to the BLS, tax preparers are primarily employed by accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services.  

Tax preparers typically work in an office setting, though some set up cubicles in big box stores and other public spaces during tax season to provide on-demand assistance for individual customers. Tax preparers might also choose to work from home. Hours are often long during peak tax season, but the schedule slows significantly during the rest of the year. 

What Are the Training Requirements for Tax Preparers?

Tax preparers should have a strong educational background in accounting or finance. It’s essential that these professionals have a thorough understanding of tax law. This changes frequently, so you’ll need to study carefully and keep up with the latest changes in this industry. As a tax preparer, you should be dedicated to following tax law and tax code, so you’re equipped to assist your clients as efficiently as possible. 

An Accounting Associate Degree from Bryant & Stratton College will equip you to pursue a career as a tax preparer. This program includes 39 major requirements with courses such as income tax accounting, financial analysis, accounting principles, cost accounting, and business principles. You should also have strong math skills, good computer skills, customer service skills, and a keen eye for detail. 

To work professionally as a tax preparer, you must obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). You can get your PTIN by registering with the IRS, supplying your personal information, and paying a small fee.

What Can I Do with an AAS Accounting Degree?

An AAS Accounting Degree can prepare you for a variety of jobs in the finance industry. Since tax preparation is often seen as a seasonal job, you may want to consider other positions in your job search as well. Some key job titles to look for with an AAS Accounting Degree are: 

  • General ledger accountant 
  • Cost accountant 
  • Accounting assistant 
  • Staff accountant 
  • Accounts payable clerk 
  • Income tax advisor 
  • Mobile tax preparer 

For more insights into the accounting field, visit the business degree section of our blog. You’ll find useful information on the job opportunities available in this area.

While these projections can help career-minded people evaluate potential employment fields, it is important to note that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is only intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities. It should not be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Neither BLS nor Bryant & Stratton College can guarantee employment in any field.

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