Tax professional is a rather general term that can refer to several career paths within tax and accounting. Tax preparer seems to be a common subfield of tax professionals, and this job of preparing tax returns (dealing with receipts, invoices and accounts receivable) will certainly be different from the job of a tax advisor or a tax agent. A tax professional seems to indicate general tax preparer, since no special training or knowledge is indicated.
Responsibilities of Tax Professionals
You would not only be preparing tax returns but also dealing with other documents of correspondence. In addition to these basic practices, you might be called on to answer tax questions, submit forms, and submit payments on behalf of clients. You might also be given the responsibility of recording tasks, communicating with certain tax offices or agencies, and perhaps in some not too common cases, offering legal representation for your clients.
Most cases will involve you to figuring out the total of what a person has made and what he or she owes, as well as any liabilities or technicalities that must be reported. You must keep accurate and clean records and also on occasion create financial strategies to improve the client’s financial status. You seek to optimize their handling of tax money, not to mention finding ways to help them pay less in taxes through legal means and incentives.
Besides communicating with government agencies, on behalf of a client, a tax preparer might also help the client understand his or her rights. This might indicate a greater knowledge required to break into this field, when compared to bookkeeping or another entry-level job. Sometimes tax professionals can serve as lawyers since he will be handling legal issues for the client or the represented company.
Working with modern business will require you to learn software quickly, so reviewing tax preparation software, while in training, is ideal. Most tax returns will be filed online. You may work with a bookkeeping program like QuickBooks or perhaps tax-specialty software such as Turbo Tax or TaxCut.
The competition is formidable, considering that CPAs will often prepare tax returns for their clients. Therefore, seeking CPA certification might be a good idea, as well as seeking a job in a medium-sized firm. Senior firm workers will usually handle tax planning and other complex issues, leaving new employees to prepare taxes and file forms.
Educational Requirements and Suggestions
Because the scope of this job can be large or small, a college degree is not always a requirement. However, it is recommended that you pursue a bachelor’s degree or better since clients will need some proof of education or experience. You will surely need to understand federal and state tax law, as well as code, common tax problems, and have the ability to problem-solve on behalf of your clients. This might suggest additional training in law.
A tax preparer course can help you in this regard, but don’t assume a minimum education is all that it takes. In fact, it is necessary to continue education, since many new tax laws come into effect every fiscal year.
This is a career path that can pay well and provide a level of independence while you work. Why not look into college opportunities for a better paying job?