How Do I Become a Tax Professional?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Accountants can handle tax preparation.
Accountants can handle tax preparation.

Training is usually the main requirement when you want to become a tax professional and prepare taxes for individuals or businesses. In most cases, you will need to earn a high school education or an equivalent diploma first and then enroll in a tax preparation training program. You can usually find such programs through community colleges, vocational schools, or online institutions. Alternatively, you could choose to earn an accounting degree, a choice that might translate into more opportunities. You may have to earn licensing as well, though this requirement varies from place to place.

A high math aptitude is crucial to becoming a tax professional.
A high math aptitude is crucial to becoming a tax professional.

You will typically need some training and education to become a tax professional. This often starts with earning a high school diploma or a General Educational Development® (GED®) certificate. Most tax preparation or accounting programs won't require specific high school classes for admission, but courses in mathematics and computer use generally will provide good preparation. You could also consider taking an accounting or business mathematics course if one is offered while you are in high school. Additionally, since good communication skills are often required when you want to become a tax professional, composition courses and classes or activities that help you build verbal communication skills may prove beneficial as well.

Corporate tax preparation is often best left to professional accountants who have specific knowledge and information on tax laws.
Corporate tax preparation is often best left to professional accountants who have specific knowledge and information on tax laws.

After graduating from high school or earning a GED®, you will likely need higher education to become a tax professional. For example, you may need to enroll in a tax preparation course with a community college, vocational school, or even online. Many of these courses grant diplomas or certificates. Some tax preparation companies offer this type of training as well, however. Course lengths may vary widely, but programs often last between nine and 12 weeks.

Instead of becoming a general tax preparer, you could choose to become an accountant and earn an accounting degree. You may find more jobs are available to you with this degree, and some potential employers and clients may feel more confident in your abilities if you have this type of background. If you want to become an accountant, you'll typically have to enroll in an associate's or bachelor's degree program in accounting. In these types of programs, you will usually take classes in such subjects as taxation, managerial accounting, financial accounting, auditing, cost accounting, and computer applications. You can also consider earning a certificate in accounting, but opportunities are typically optimal if you earn a degree instead.

Depending on where you choose to become a tax professional, you may also need a license to practice in your jurisdiction. In some places, you can obtain a license by providing proof that you have training in this area. In others, however, you may have to pass an examination as well.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • Accountants can handle tax preparation.
      By: mim
      Accountants can handle tax preparation.
    • A high math aptitude is crucial to becoming a tax professional.
      By: Arto
      A high math aptitude is crucial to becoming a tax professional.
    • Corporate tax preparation is often best left to professional accountants who have specific knowledge and information on tax laws.
      By: NAN
      Corporate tax preparation is often best left to professional accountants who have specific knowledge and information on tax laws.