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Income Tax Preparer Certification

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires registration and certification of all tax preparers as of tax year 2011. Once certified, tax preparers will have to complete 15 hours of annual continuing education.

Certifying Bodies

The IRS provides certification for volunteers of the Tax Counseling for the Elderly and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs. Tax preparation companies, organizations and other tax education institutions also provide certification.


Tax preparation certification teaches competence in advising on and filling out tax return forms such as form 1040 for individuals, form 1120 for corporations and form 1065 for partnerships. Certification also covers the relevant schedules of the above forms.


Tax preparers can choose self study or classroom curricula. You may choose online or in-person studies. Students will learn about various tax forms and topics, study and interpret case studies, and finally take an exam. Once you pass the exam you are certified to prepare taxes.