How to Become a Maryland-IRS Qualified Tax Return 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 recent changes 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. Please 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 and an AFSP Record of Completion Holder?


They 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 an IRS Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion Holder?


In order to participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program 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 CE 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. Once 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 is approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to offer both the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) CE 18 Hour Tax Course including the Annual Filing Tax Refresher (AFTR) as well as IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) CE 15 Hour Tax Course. Platinum also offers an IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Tax Return Preparer Prep Course including AFTR.




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


A registration issued by the Maryland State Board is required to prepare Maryland individual tax returns. The holding of a current, valid federal PTIN is the primary credential required for the issuance of a state registration. You must be at least 18 years old and hold a valid High School Diploma or GED. Because the IRS has not yet established an electronic system that enables the Board to verify your PTIN, the Maryland State Board must do so manually. The application provides instructions on forwarding a copy of the electronic confirmation you received when applying for the PTIN on line OR the "welcome letter" you received after your PTIN was issued. Failure to provide one of the requested documents will keep your registration from being issued. The registration fee for the initial two year registration and subsequent bi-annual renewal is $100. The expiration date will be two years from the date of issuance.

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 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.

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 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 Test Preparation Course to help you pass the Maryland Examination.

If a credentialed tax professional (CPA, attorney, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, enrolled actuary) (please note, Maryland is currently listed under the exemptions) wants to receive an Annual filing Season record of completion, 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. 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.





Course Features

We offer reliable, superior, quality tax preparer training at an affordable cost. Our IRS and Maryland approved online tax preparation courses will provide you with the knowledge to excel as a tax professional. 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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