Are you someone who likes working with people, is very detail-oriented, isn't intimidated by numbers and doesn't get stressed out during tax season? Then becoming a tax preparer in Michigan might be the right career move for you.
Take Tax Prep Classes
While you do not need to have an undergraduate degree to work as a tax preparer, you must prepare for this line of work by taking tax prep classes. There are various options if you are interested in a tax preparation course. The following are some options.
H&R Block Income Tax Course
The H&R Block tax preparation course is available from August through December. Students can learn in person or online. Graduates may be hired to work at an H&R Block location.
The 73-hour course is conducted with up-to-date income tax software. Students are given real-world tax situations to work on to prepare them for working with clients. They receive personalized assistance from their instructor.
Graduates receive H&R Block Certification, along with the following:
- 3.5 hours of credit with the University of Phoenix
- 3 hours of credit with Western Governors University
- Qualifying education hours
The cost of this course is $149 (fall 2021).
IRS Link and Learn Taxes e-Learning
The IRS Link & Learn Taxes is a self-paced program. It prepares students for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA/TCE) program.
Students can choose from a basic or advanced menu. Each one includes changes to the tax year, along with the following segments:
- Filing Basics
- Personal Exemptions
- Unique Filing Situations
- Income - Wages, Interest, etc.
- Income - Retirement Income
- Income - Unemployment Compensation
- Adjustments to Income
- Standard Deduction and Tax Computation
- Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses
- Miscellaneous Credits
- Other Taxes
- Earned Income Credit (EIC)
- Refund and Amount of Tax Owed
- Amended and Prior Years Return
This e-learning course is offered at no charge.
Surgent Income Tax School
The Surgent income tax course is designed for beginners with no prior tax knowledge. This tax preparer course teaches students how to prepare tax returns for individual taxpayers along with self-employed taxpayers. They also learn how to research tax issues.
Students can register for the online, self-paced program at any time. The income tax course was developed to be completed over six months. However, a student may complete the program in 10 weeks or less.
The Surgent income tax course is also offered in a two-course bundle (one beginner course and one advanced course) or a certificate program portion.
The cost of the beginner tax training course is $497. The school offers a monthly payment plan.
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Get a PTIN
Professional tax preparers also need to obtain a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number). The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) issues PTINs to paid tax preparers. Under IRS regulations, "anyone preparing or assisting in preparing federal tax returns for compensation" must have a valid PTIN. The PTIN is renewed annually.
There are two ways to obtain a PTIN.
- You can apply online in approximately 15 minutes. There is a $35.95 non-refundable fee.
- The other option is to submit a Form W-12, IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Application and pay the $35.95 fee. The paper form takes between four and six weeks to process.
If you complete an income tax course and obtain a PTIN, you have completed the requirements to become a tax preparer in Michigan. You can work for a company or strike out on your own to prepare income tax returns from your home office or set up your own company.
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Jodee Redmond is a freelance writer, blogger and editor who has been working full-time for over 15 years. She is a graduate of Centennial College and has worked as a tax consultant and a legal assistant. Her previous experience and boundless curiosity is a distinct advantage when writing about such varied topics as income tax, insurance, commercial property, business, construction, addiction, freelance writing and more.