How to Become a Tax Preparer

What is a Tax Preparer?


The Internal Revenue Services defines a "tax return preparer" as "an individual who, for compensation, prepares all or substantially all of a federal tax return or claim for refund".




What are the requirements to become a Tax Preparer?


The IRS requires all paid tax preparers to sign up with the IRS and obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). All tax preparers will need to renew an existing PTIN annually. Enrolled Agents have separate requirements, Click Here to learn more. Note: residents of California, Maryland, New York and Oregon will also need to complete a state registered tax preparation course approved by their respective state.




What are the fees to obtain a PTIN?


For 2021, the IRS has set a $21 fee per PTIN application or renewal (plus a $14.95 fee payable to a contractor).




What is the difference between an Enrolled Agent (EA) and an AFSP Record of Completion Holder?


An AFSP Record of Completion holder may only represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service. They cannot represent clients whose returns they did not prepare and they cannot represent clients regarding appeals or collection issues even if they did prepare the return in question.




How do I become a California (CTEC) Registered Tax Return Preparer?


To become a Tax Preparer in California you must follow the state guidelines. The state of California requires all paid Tax Preparers to take and pass a California Registered Tax Preparer 60 hour Qualifying Tax Course as well as:

  • Pass a criminal background check and submit fingerprint images to CTEC
  • Obtain and maintain a $5,000 tax preparer bond
  • Obtain A Preparer Tax Identification Number
  • Register with the California Tax Education Council CTEC

Once you do this you will become a California Registered Tax Preparer CTRP. In addition, you will be required to complete 20 hours of continuing professional education annually.

Platinum Professional Services is approved (provider #2052) by the California Tax Educational Council (CTEC) to offer the CTEC 60 Hour Qualifying Tax Course as well as CTEC Continuing Professional Education Tax Courses.




How do I become a Oregon Licensed Tax Return Preparer?


The State of Oregon requires that individuals that prepare tax returns for compensation obtain a Tax Preparer License. The Tax Preparer License enables a person to lawfully prepare personal income tax returns in the State of Oregon. A tax preparer must work under the supervision of a Licensed Tax Consultant, a Certified Public Accountant, a Public Accountant, or an Attorney who prepares tax returns for their clients. The state of Oregon requires all paid Tax Preparers to complete an Oregon 80 hour Basic tax course and pass an exam (administered by Oregon Board of Tax Practioners). In order to become an Oregon Licensed Tax Preparer you must:

  • Be at least 18 year of age.
  • Be high school graduate or have passed an equivalency examination.
  • Complete a minimum of 80 clock hours of basic income tax law education. Platinum Professional Services is approved by the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners (OBTP) to offer a course that meets the Oregon 80 hour Basic Tax Course requirement.
  • Pass the tax preparer examination administered by the Tax Board with a 75% pass rate or higher.
  • Receive a certificate of completion of the 80-hour basic tax course must be submitted with your license application before your license will be issued (certificate issued by Platinum Professional Services)

Licensees are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours continuing education as a prerequisite to renewing their license each year.

Platinum Professional Services is approved by the Oregon State Board of Tax Practioners (OBTP) and Higher Education Coordinating Committee (HECC license #2148) to offer both the Oregon 80 hour Basic Tax Course as well as Oregon Continuing Professional Education Courses.




How do I become a Oregon Licensed Tax Consultant?


Once a Tax Preparer meets certain additional requirements, he or she can then choose to become a licensed Tax Consultant. A licensed Tax Consultant enables a person to lawfully prepare personal income tax returns in the State of Oregon for a fee as a self-employed or independent tax practitioner.

To become a Licensed Tax Consultant if presently a Licensed Tax Preparer, the Preparer must submit evidence that he/she has actively worked in the capacity of a licensed tax preparer for a minimum of 1100 hours during at least two of the last five years. The tax preparer must have a Verification of Work Experience form completed by their employer(s) and shall submit it with the Consultant Examination Application and required fees.

Applicants must have completed, within one year prior to submitting application, a minimum of 15 hours of acceptable continuing education. You must also pass the tax consultant examination administered by the Tax Board with a 75% pass rate or higher.

Platinum Professional Services is approved by the Oregon State Board of Tax Practioners (OBTP) and Higher Education Coordinating Committee (HECC license #2148) to offer both the Oregon 80 hour Basic Tax Course as well as Oregon Continuing Professional Education Courses.




What are the requirements in New York NY to become a Tax Preparer?


Who must register and pay


In general, you must register if you:


1. Will be paid to prepare at least one or more New York state returns or report, or
2. Will help to issue or administer a refund anticipation loan or refund anticipation check


You must pay a $100 registration fee if you are a commercial tax return preparer:


1. Will be paid to prepare at least one New York state tax return or report in the current calendar year and were paid to prepare 10 or more New York State tax returns in the previous calendar year, or
2. Will be paid to prepare 10 or more tax returns in the current calendar year

All commercial preparers who will prepare New York State personal income tax returns must complete continuing education requirements. Your status as a personal income tax preparer will be reflected on your registration certificate. Either 4-hour or 16-hour coursework must be completed through the state of New York. Please click here for more information on who is required to take 4 and 16 hours of continuing education.

After you register

Once you register online, you can print your Certificate of Registration, which includes your New York Tax Preparer Registration Identification Number (NYTPRIN). You can also log in and print the certificate later. You must include your NYTPRIN and your signature on signed tax returns or reports when required.

Who may be subject to penalties

Tax return preparers (including commercial tax return preparers) and facilitators who fail to:


1. Register or renew each year
2. Sign a New York State tax return or report or refund anticipation loan or refund anticipation check documentation when required
3. Include the New York Tax Preparer Registration Identification Number (NYTPRIN) on any New York State tax return or report when required, or on refund anticipation loan or refund anticipation check documentation that requires the facilitator’s signature
4. Ensure that tax return preparers they employ are registered
5. Commercial tax return preparers who fail to pay the annual fee

Credentialed New York tax preparers are not included in the list of those exempt from taking the 18 Hours of continuing education, including the 6 hour AFTR Course. Therefore in order for a tax preparer in New York to participate in the program they must take 18 Hours of continuing education between June 1st and December 31st of every year. Once you complete the IRS Continuing Professional Education Tax Course you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Platinum. Platinum will then report your completion to the IRS electronically. Once the tax preparer has met all three requirements for the Internal Revenue Service AFSP (renewed their PTIN, taken appropriate amount of continuing education, completed and passed the AFTR course/test if required), a record of completion will be available in the PTIN holder's online IRS account for printing. Any "unenrolled" preparer not already bound by Circular 230 will need to sign an agreement to follow sub-part b of Circular 230 before being able to print the certificate from the Internal Revenue Service. There will be no cost to the preparer for the AFSP record of completion. The IRS will then list AFSP tax preparers in their public database including the tax preparer's credentials.

For more information regarding becoming a Tax Preparer in the State of New York you can click here.




What are the requirements in Maryland MD to become a Tax Preparer?


Maryland law requires that applicants for registration pass an examination, Section 21-302(e) of Title 16, Business Occupations and Professions, Annotated Code of Maryland. The cost of the Maryland Examination is $65. Those tax preparers who have taken and passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) exam given by the IRS do not have to take the Maryland exam, but must submit a copy of their RTRP certificate issued by the IRS or the letter of passing results as proof. The Maryland Examination is being administered by PSI Services, LLC. Information about how to schedule, pay for, and take the Maryland Exam may be found at the PSI Exams Online Website. This information is also provided in our course.

The following is a link to the CPE Audit Checklist, which can be used to keep a record and a running total of CPE hours. Upon renewal, the "total hours earned" should equal at least 16. If asked by the Board to submit proof of CPE hours, this Checklist should be certified with your signature and submitted with course documentation.

Continuing Professional Education Audit Checklist


Platinum Professional Services is approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to offer both the Maryland-IRS Continuing Professional Education Tax Courses as well as a Maryland Tax Return Preparer Prep Course to help you pass the Maryland Examination.

In order to comply with Maryland state law you need to complete 16 hours of tax education every two years. Four of the 16 hours must be in Maryland state tax-related subjects. Platinum offers a separate 4 hour CPE Maryland state-tax-related subject as well as a combined course of 19 hours CE which includes 4 hours of Maryland state-tax-related-subjects and 15 hours of continuing education as recognized by the IRS. Platinum Professional Services has combined the IRS recommended CE hours and the Maryland requirements so you can meet all your tax education needs in one course.




How do I become an IRS Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion Holder?


In order to participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) one must complete 18 credit hours of continuing education. The 18 credit hours would need to include 6 hours of an Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course with a knowledge based comprehension test, 10 hours of Federal tax law topics and 2 hours of Ethics. The Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) is available each year from June 1st - December 31st. The program is directed to preparers who are not Attorneys, CPAs or Enrolled Agents. Tax return preparers who have successfully completed one of the following national or state tests would be exempt from taking the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course with a comprehension test.

  • Passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) test before 1/18/2013
  • Oregon/California/Maryland and other state based return preparer testing programs
  • Accredited Tax preparer test offered by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy or Taxation
  • Passed Part 1 of the Special Enrollment Exam (aka: SEE and EA Exam) during the 2 year
  • eligibility window
  • Successful Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program reviewers and instructors
If a credentialed tax professional (CPA, attorney, Enrolled Agent, Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent, Enrolled Actuary) or the exempt group listed above wants to be a part of the Annual Filing Season Program, he/she must have 15 hours of continuing education from an IRS approved provider. The 15 credit hours will need to include 3 hours of federal tax updates, 10 Hours of Federal tax law topics, and 2 hours of Ethics. No CE credit will be given to Enrolled Agents for completing an AFTR course. Platinum Professional Services offers both the IRS AFSP 18 Hour including the AFTR tax course and the IRS AFSP CE 15 Hour tax course. Once you complete the IRS Continuing Professional Education tax course you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Platinum. Platinum will then report your completion to the IRS electronically. When the tax preparer has met all three requirements for the AFSP (renewed their PTIN, taken appropriate amount of continuing education, completed and passed the AFTR course/test if required), a record of completion will be available in the PTIN holder's online IRS account for printing. Any "unenrolled" preparer not already bound by Circular 230 will need to sign an agreement to follow sub-part b of Circular 230 before being able to print the record of completion from the Internal Revenue Service. There will be no cost to the preparer for the AFSP record of completion. The IRS will then list AFSP tax preparers in their public database including the tax preparer's credentials. Platinum Professional Services is approved by the Internal Revenue Service (approval #JK8E2) to offer both the IRS AFSP CE 18 Hour Tax Course including AFTR as well as IRS AFSP CE 15 Hour Tax Course. Platinum also offers an IRS AFSP Tax Return Preparer Prep Course including AFTR.





Course Features

We offer reliable, superior, quality tax preparer training at an affordable cost. Our IRS, CTEC, Maryland, and Oregon approved online tax preparation courses will provide you with the knowledge to excel as a tax professional. Platinum is the only company to offer state supplements to further enhance your education. It does not get better than this. Our income tax courses will give you the confidence needed in obtaining the tax knowledge to prepare individual tax returns.   

Platinum Professional Services offers automatic grading, feedback on your missed quiz questions, printable e-books conveniently located within each tax course and unlimited tries to pass the quizzes and final exam(s). We even offer full instructor support. Our tax courses are available to you for six months (180 days) upon purchase and will expire after the six month term. Note: Enrolled Agent Exam Review Courses and Notary Public training classes expire after one year. Learn 24/7, online and your own pace. Best of all, your certificate of completion is emailed you immediately following the successful completion of the tax course. 

With Platinum Professional Services there is no confusion, only a direct path to success. Feel free to discover the most proficient way to deepen your education and be efficient, all while saving you time and money. Here at Platinum Professional Services, we make it easy for you without any added obstacles. Everyone wants to simplify their life and finally, we have the way.

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