After tax season is over, you probably feel in prime shape. Now, the smartest thing you can do is leverage all that knowledge to sharpen your tax preparation skills and prepare for the next tax season and the years to come.
High-level preparation includes a strategic approach to considering the credits and courses to take in 2023. CE credits keep you up-to-date on tax law, while courses from a tech-savvy, knowledgeable provider like Surgent CPE offer the power to make you more valuable to employers and clients.
Consider courses that offer value — maybe with the most credits for the price — and that are likeliest to advance your tax prep career. Learn more about these top three Surgent Income Tax School courses, and decide on your next step:
Beginner Comprehensive Tax Course
Your tax preparer skills start with the fundamentals. Surgent Income Tax School’s Comprehensive Tax Course takes you from A through Z, teaching you how to prepare individual tax returns – even without prior tax preparation or accounting knowledge. Topics covered include:
- Filing requirements: Who must file a tax return, and which form must they use?
- Types of income: Learn how different types of income are taxed differently.
- Deductions and credits: Learn how to maximize your clients’ tax savings.
- Responsibilities of tax professionals: Tax preparers adhere to a strict code of ethics, so it’s important to know your responsibilities.
The tips are helpful, practical and ready for application from Day One. Plus, the course now concentrates on how to keep building your tax preparer skills and advance your career and profitability. This course gives you the knowledge and confidence to start making money as a tax preparer.
Chartered Tax Professional Program
When you’re a Chartered Tax Professional (CTP®), clients have confidence in your proven abilities. This nationally recognized credential is earned by taking a specific series of tax courses and completing a 300-hour experience requirement. That might sound like a lot, but with Surgent Income Tax School, there’s no need to put your life on hold. This innovative online certificate program lets you start working and earning money after the first course.
The CTP’s five courses over 18 months offer 157 continuing education credits. Courses cover comprehensive taxes, advanced taxes I and II, and small business I and II. Working 40 hours a week during the course of a single tax season will give you more than enough to complete the 300-hour experience requirement.
Small Business I Tax Course
Small businesses may be the backbone of the economy, but owners would much rather be practicing their craft than doing their taxes. Learning the basics of tax preparation through the Surgent Income Tax School Small Business 1 Tax Course helps you broaden and diversify your clientele. This course educates tax preparers about the range of tax issues in business. It’s ideal for anyone looking for a basic understanding of small business tax issues and a foothold in the small business tax-preparation arena.
Enrollees learn about business entity types, how business income and expenses are reported, how business property is depreciated, and the requirements for filing employment taxes.
For tax preparers ready to reach the next level, Surgent Income Tax School’s Small Business II Tax Course delves into corporate taxation, amended returns, taxation of trusts and estates, and regulation of tax preparers and practitioners.
5 tips to advance your tax prep career
Maybe you’re hesitating. Why build your tax preparer skills if they won’t provide a year-round living?
There’s no reason to worry. Just because tax season officially runs from January through mid-April doesn’t mean that you’re idle the rest of the year. Knowing how to advance your tax prep career includes learning how to spot opportunities year-round. There are plenty of ways to stay sharp and keep your tax prep career moving forward.
Expert tax preparers are in demand throughout the year, especially if you build your repertoire of services. It might take additional professional development, but the rewards will be worth it. Consider adding these five skills to your professional offerings; clients will be happy to find you.
Offer payroll management
If you took the Surgent Income Tax School Small Business courses, you already understand the intricacies of running a business. You have heard the sighs and around taxes and many other areas needed to keep a small business afloat.
For many employers, payroll management tops the list of weekly headaches. They would rather hustle up new business and market their services than do the backroom functions. Why not offer your services? Payroll management can be one of the first functions that small businesses outsource, so the field is ripe.
Bonus: Build strong relationships on the payroll management side, and your clients might come to you for tax services or vice versa. Show clients your diversity, and they’ll trust you with more responsibilities.
Perform bookkeeping services
Bookkeeping is another function that small businesses can offload to a trustworthy, reasonably priced provider. Hiring a bookkeeper gives someone else the task of recording financial transactions, updating internal records, and reconciling bank statements. Plus, preparing a business’s taxes is much easier when you’ve been keeping their books all year. You’ll know their business inside and out, and you’ll avoid sifting through a year’s worth of documents that another – possibly unorganized – bookkeeper worked on.
Contrary to myth, bookkeepers don’t need accounting degrees or experience. They don’t even need a license. Learn to put your facility with numbers to work, and with a certificate or associate degree, you can become a skilled, in-demand bookkeeper in a short time.
Niche market to late filers and back-tax-owers
They are out there. Every year, more and more taxpayers are late or last minute with their filings. A family emergency or simply the pressures of everyday life could put them behind schedule.
Others owe money from past years. Perhaps they want to dig out of this hole and get on with their lives but don’t know how.
Position yourself as a specialist for these well-meaning but worried taxpayers, and they will come to you year-round. Use social media, advertising and word-of-mouth to express your availability to help taxpayers seek extensions, file taxes after the deadline or file back taxes for all the years they have missed.
Become an enrolled agent
When tax season ends, the IRS delves into all those tax returns, looking for errors or willful misstatements. When taxpayers get a notice, where can they turn?
A pricey accountant or lawyer can represent clients before the IRS, but taxpayers have another option — the enrolled agent (EA). Enrolled agents are credentialed tax preparers with representation rights before the IRS in all 50 states. The EA is the IRS’ highest credential, earned through passing the three-part Special Enrollment Examination (SEE).
Surgent EA Review takes a technology-powered approach to reduce your study time by 40%. With its 99% pass rate and personalized approach — guaranteed to help you pass — you’re putting your career in high gear that much faster.
Sharpen your business skills
You’re a small business owner, too. While concentrating on doing what you love, you probably overlooked the fundamentals that grow your business.
Have no fear. You can learn. Surgent Income Tax School offers an exclusive guide tailored for tax prep on starting and growing your own successful tax business. It’s a step-by-step guide to building the proper credentials, developing a business plan, establishing your office and pricing your services.
Plus, Surgent Interactive now offers a business development series of courses loaded with everything you need to become a dynamic businessperson. Courses pair leading educational content with hands-on practice. Before you know it, you acquire new clients, make personal business contacts, hire and coach employees and apply effective time management practices to maximize profits.
Become a year-round tax preparer
It’s always a good time for lifelong learning and self-improvement. Your income will climb when you take courses that advance your tax prep career and seek out opportunities to use your skills year-round. Get started today with Surgent Income Tax School’s Comprehensive Tax Course, now updated for 2023 to include updated tax law and more video content than ever before to help you learn better and faster. The Surgent Income Tax School guide can teach you how to start and grow your own business, building trust with clients and going toe-to-toe with national firms. With Surgent, you can take control of your destiny and make tax preparation a year-round career you love.