If you're ambitious, have a passion for helping others, and enjoy working with numbers, starting your own tax preparation business could be an ideal opportunity to capitalize on your key strengths while benefiting from a flexible work schedule. However, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with some of the questions that accompany thoughts of opening your own business. You wonder: "Where can I receive training? What's required of opening a business? Will I need a brick-and-mortar storefront?" We understand these questions can be daunting, but starting your own tax preparation business is actually much simpler than you may have guessed.
1.) Learn the ropes. The first step on your path to starting your own tax preparation business is acquiring foundational knowledge of the industry. If you have a background in accounting—which is helpful, but not required—you may feel you already have a fair understanding of tax preparation; however, training that focuses exclusively on tax preparation is essential for providing your customers high-quality service. Luckily, tax training is both expedient and effective. The tax training we provide at America's Tax Office includes in-depth, one-on-one instruction from experts that adjust their instruction to whatever your initial knowledge of the business may be.
2.) Reach out to other professionals. As you train to become a tax preparer, it's not a bad idea to access supplementary sources, too. The more familiar you are with the ins and outs of the tax world, the more satisfied your customers will be, and the better your business. A great way to learn more about the industry is to connect with other professionals for advice, insight and strategies. Professional social media platforms like LinkedIn can be helpful for meeting this aim, as can conversations with your tax training instructor.
3.) Receive your PTIN. All tax preparers will need to obtain a Preparer's Tax Identification Number, which is required on all prepared returns submitted to the IRS; this allows the IRS to identify and track preparers. Individuals can register for this identification number straight from the IRS website, but note that there is a $64.25 registration fee.
4.) Apply for an EFIN. Next, apply to receive an Electronic Filing Identification Number that will allow you to submit returns electronically. This will afford you major convenience as a preparer, but does involve a few steps.
- Create an e-services account with the IRS. Creating the account will require approval and necessitate that the IRS verify the information you've provided, which could take a few days.
- Once your account is approved, log in to your e-services account and complete the IRS's e-file provider application. Note that once your application is submitted, it may take up to 45 days to receive approval as the IRS will need to conduct a background check.
- When approved, you'll receive a letter from the IRS that includes your EFIN, and you'll be able to file returns electronically going forward.
5.) Select your software. Tax preparers rely on professional tax software to complete electronic filings for their clients, and there are a number of software options available depending upon the type of filings you plan to conduct. The innovative ATS cloud software we offer is industry-leading and affords preparers advanced accessibility and flexibility for filing returns.
Ready to launch your tax preparation business? Learn more about the process by contacting us today!