How to Become a Tax Professional

Certified public accountants aren't the only tax professionals. Every tax season, people across the United States become nervous about filing their taxes. They bring their financial records to tax professionals who file their returns for them and make their lives easier, for a price. Here's what you can do to become a tax professional:

  1. Have a high school education People working with income taxes need at least a high school education in mathematics. Many firms will desire a bachelor's degree or a combination of post-secondary education and related experience for tax professionals. For many advanced entry-level positions, employers may require a bachelor's degree in business, accounting or mathematics. If you're considering working for the government you will have to earn a bachelor's degree in business, accounting or mathematics [source: BLS].
  2. Take a tax preparation course Instead of completing an entire degree in accounting, you can get the training you need in the world of income taxes from a community college, vocational school or private tax service school or program. You'll learn about tax theory, laws and the filing process [source: H&R Block].
  3. Pass a tax knowledge test Some tax service companies, such as H&R Block, have special examinations you can take to prove you have what it takes to be a tax professional. These tests can often circumvent requirements for formal tax preparation courses or other college education [source: H&R Block].
  4. Register with the necessary authorities The IRS now requires tax professionals to register for a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) [source: IRS]. Some states require tax preparers to register with the state Department of Taxation, as well [source: New York].