As an income tax preparer, you’ve felt the tides shift toward online tax prep and DIY solutions for many of your prospective clients. It is near impossible to put the brakes on this trend. Instead of wishing for more clients to turn to you for help, take advantage of these great tax preparation courses that will put you ahead of the competition.
Take time in the slow season to increase your knowledge, expand your client network, and make more money with any of these top tax preparer training ideas:
1. Community College Education
Enroll in a tax preparation class at any local community college in your state. Courses are taught by knowledgeable professors, won’t break the bank to sign up, and will go in depth into the specific knowledge and regulations needed to file taxes in your state. Enrolling in a class at a local institution will ensure you have all the knowledge you need, will better connect you to your community, and help you find new clients.
2. Online Courses to Keep You Up to Date
No matter if you are self-taught or took courses to become a tax preparer, becoming informed about the newest tax laws and regulations will improve your services. Congress passed the biggest piece of tax legislation in history in 2017 and enrolling in a tax preparation course online will ensure that you have all the knowledge you need to best serve your clients.
3. Free Tax Prep Classes
A no-investment, introductory course like the classroom-based tax course offered by Libertytax can help make sure you never miss a beat as you navigate the complex tax code. Classroom learning is the best place to ask questions and hear great insight from other students. This kind, of course, is great for a business owner looking to hone their skills and is a great resume builder to attract clients and expand a tax preparer business in the offseason.
4. Get Credentials from the IRS
More than half of the 150 million individual tax returns filed last year were prepared with the help of a paid return preparer and many seek out advice directly from the IRS on the IRS.gov/chooseataxpro webpage for help selecting a professional.
Being recommended as a trusted preparer by the IRS is a no-brainer. Find new clients by:
- Take continuing education courses and bolster your credibility
- Enroll in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program
- Get listed on the IRS database of tax preparers
- Pass the IRS tax law refresher course
The Annual Filing Season Program is designed for non-credentialed preparers with the ability to attend a total of 18 hours of continuing education that includes a six-hour federal tax law course with a test. After completion, you become certified and included on a searchable directory that makes it easier for new, local clients to find your name and hire you no matter the time of year.
5. Become an ACA Insurance Navigator
A value-added service can be a major win for any tax preparer looking expand the lifetime value of their current clients and make more money each year. Under the ACA, any tax preparer can train to become a health insurance broker or navigator and add those services to their current business. This position is in high demand and especially well suited for tax preparers who can offer insight for clients looking to ease the burden that healthcare may have on their taxes.
6. Payroll and Quarterly Business Taxes
Add on more services to your tax preparer business this year by offering services geared toward other small businesses. Using the knowledge you have from operating your own small business and what you learn from the whitepapers and education modules online from the SBA, you can offer a robust set of services to help clients who own and operate a small business both personal and business filing.
With the proper training, tax preparers can become licensed and experienced in bookkeeping and be able to gain a better understanding of a client’s financial health. With more knowledge about personal and business finances, you develop a more trusting relationship with a client as well as maximize the services you can offer beyond the tax season.
8. Link and Learn Taxes
The IRS has an expansive knowledge base for educating volunteers on taxes that is available for free. Use the education modules and the tax software practice lab during the slow season to refine your knowledge and get a deeper insight into specifics of the tax code.
9. IRS Basic Tools for Tax Pros
The basic tools for tax professionals is a thorough page provided by the IRS for tax preparers. Use the webpages bulleted list like an outline for a class and check each header to ensure you are hitting every mark for your clients.
10. Credit Repair Training
Offering credit repair as an add-on service is a natural fit for your tax preparer business. American credit card debt reached a new high as it rose six percent this year and with that debt comes the need for more credit repair professionals to help clients restore their financial well being. Getting trained in credit repair (for free!) opens the door to offering consultation services and restoring credit to your existing and new clients. Credit health needs to be tended to year-round and will keep your business top of mind no matter the season.
The number of resources available both on an offline for your business during the off season is a reminder that outside tax season, you can continue your education and make more money by offering your clients additional services like credit repair.
Learn more about maximizing your time and income by reading How to Maximize Your Tax Preparer Salary in the Off-Season.