Helpful Hints for a Remote Seasonal Tax Preparation Role

Jeff Givens, Alex Mortman
January 21, 2022

There are some things that you need to do before an employer will consider hiring you for remote tax preparation jobs.

Follow the helpful hints below to learn more:

Set Up Your Home Office for your remote seasonal tax preparation role

You can’t qualify as a tax preparer working remotely without the right location and equipment. This is a requirement for any type of remote work.

Maintain a Current Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)

You can’t be hired for tax preparation jobs without a PTIN. Obtaining a PTIN is a requirement of the IRS for anyone who is paid to prepare or assist in preparing virtually all U.S. tax forms. It’s simply a number that identifies you to the IRS just like a Social Security Number. If you already have a PTIN, you know that the number must be renewed each year. Refer to the section below, “Obtaining and Maintaining a PTIN.”

Credentials required for a remote seasonal tax preparation role

It’s often not a requirement, but a college degree will make you more attractive to potential employers. You don’t need a specific license but can obtain credentials to increase the types of services you can provide.

  • Enrolled Agent. An Enrolled Agent is someone who can represent customers with the IRS. Enrolled Agents must pass the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE), apply for enrollment, and pass a suitability and criminal background check. After obtaining your credentials, you need to complete 72 hours of continuing education every three years from an IRS-approved Continuing Education provider. It’s a credential that lets you expand your tax knowledge, and Enrolled Agents are in high demand with many tax services.
  • Annual Filing Season Program. This program recognizes a non-credentialed tax preparer who wants to display a higher level of professionalism. You must complete 18 hours of continuing education and pass a six-hour federal tax law refresher course. You must also obtain and renew a PTIN every year. As a participant, you have limited representation rights, and you’ll expand your ability to move into new accounting careers.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA). A CPA is licensed by state boards of accountancy, and they must pass the Uniform CPA Examination. They must have an accounting degree and experience working in the profession. CPAs can provide a range of tax and other services for customers.

Obtaining and Maintaining a PTIN

Obtaining a PTIN or renewing one is quick and easy online. Applying for a PTIN for the first time usually takes about 15 minutes. Typically, you need a Social Security Number, but there are exceptions.

PTINs are issued based on calendar years, therefore, if you apply in the middle of a year, you’ll still need to renew at the beginning of the next calendar year.

You’ll find additional information on the IRS site. For example, you can check Frequently Asked Questions for additional information about the PTIN process.

If You Need a PTIN

Gather this information before you apply:

  • Social Security Number
  • Personal Information such as name, mailing address, and date of birth
  • Your personal tax return from the previous year
  • An explanation for felony convictions if applicable
  • Credit card for the non-refundable application fee
  • Information about any certifications you hold such as CPA, Enrolled Agent, etc.

If you’re applying for a PTIN for the first time, follow these steps:

  1. Create an account in the IRS PTIN System. Visit the PTIN page and use the Create Account button under New User.
  2. Follow the prompts to set up an account and you’ll be issued a temporary password.
  3. Login to the system using your User ID (the email address you used to create the account) and the temporary password.
  4. You’ll receive a prompt to change your password.
  5.  If you have a Social Security Number, select “Sign Up with SSN” and complete the prompts to apply.

You’ll receive your PTIN online after your application is processed.

The fee for applying for 2021 is $35.95. If you want to check the status of your application, login to the PTIN system. Find the Information window at the top right of your online account Main Menu. Click on “Show Details” to see information about your application.

If You Need to Renew Your PTIN

  1. Go to the PTIN System
  2. Login under the Returning User section using the User ID and password you used to create your account.
  3. Look at the Main Menu and find “PTIN Renewal,” then click on “Select” next to it and follow the prompts to renew your PTIN.

The fee for renewing your PTIN for 2021 is $35.95. All PTINs expire on December 31, but the open renewal season starts around October 15 each year. Plan to renew your PTIN early to avoid complications.

Careers at JDA TSG
Premium Content