How to Become a Top-Tier Tax Preparer: A Comprehensive Guide

Embarking on Your Journey as a Professional Tax Preparer

STEP ONE: Secure Your PTIN Number

Every tax professional aiming to provide federal tax preparation services for a fee must possess a valid PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number). This number is crucial for anyone involved in the tax preparation process.

How to Obtain Your PTIN: A Quick Guide


  1. Documents Needed:
    • Your most recent tax return
    • Business details (Name, mailing address) – If you’re an independent preparer, simply mark as “Independent”
    • Explanation for any felonies
    • Clarifications for any tax liabilities
  2. Fee: As of 2023, the PTIN application fee stands at $30.75, payable via credit card. It’s essential to note that this fee is non-refundable.


PTIN applications and renewals for 2023 are now being processed.

If you have previously created an online PTIN account, select “Log In”. If you do not remember your User ID or Password, you will have the option to select the Forgot Password or Forgot User ID links on the Login window.

Only select “Create an Account” if you have never previously applied for a PTIN.


STEP TWO: Get your PTIN online:


PTIN applications for the upcoming year can be submitted beginning in mid-October each year.

You need to create an online account: user name and password

Once you complete all personal information, the PTIN number appears. Make sure to print this page because you can’t have access to it unless you call the E-services.




The IRS highly recommends that all tax preparers undergo 18 hours of continuing education (CE) annually from an IRS-approved education provider.

Why is this important? The IRS is on a mission to foster a professional ecosystem for tax preparers, emphasizing electronic return submissions. Tax professionals who don’t prioritize continuous learning risk becoming obsolete. So, it’s time to elevate your game!

  • Explore the AFSP/AFTR (Annual Filing Season Program/Annual Federal Tax Refresher) qualifications on the official IRS website (
  • .Enroll in AFSP workshops. Many organizations offer these as 3-day intensive sessions. Aim for 18 hours annually, with a focus on 6 hours dedicated to tax updates in the AFSP. Ensure the curriculum includes ethics.
  • Dedicate time to study and successfully complete the AFTR course, solidifying your accreditation.

In conclusion, becoming a top-tier tax preparer requires dedication, continuous learning, and adherence to IRS guidelines. By following this comprehensive guide, you’re well on your way to establishing yourself as a trusted and knowledgeable professional in the tax preparation industry.


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