How to Start a Tax Preparation Business from Home

Ready to start your own tax preparation business from the comfort of your home? Our guide covers everything you need to know, from getting licensed to setting up your home office and growing your business. Start your journey today!

How to Start a Tax Preparation Business From Home

Tax preparation can be a rewarding career, especially if you work on your own terms. Your services will always be in demand because the United States Internal Revenue Tax code is complex and ever-changing. 

With your own tax preparation business, you can generate meaningful income, work on your own terms, and sleep well knowing you help your customers reduce their tax burdens. 

If you possess strong math skills and keen attention to detail, you could thrive as a tax preparer. Read on to learn how to start a tax preparation business from home. 

Who Can Be a Professional Tax Preparer?

You may be under the impression that you have to be a certified public accountant or tax attorney or hold some other professional credential to start a tax preparation business. In fact, you don’t need certifications or professional requirements to open your business. All you need is a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and you’re legally ready to go.

However, it does take a certain type of individual to thrive in this industry. If the following points describe you, starting a tax preparation business may be the way to go:

  • Numbers are your thing. Did you ace math in school? Are you drawn to numbers? That’s a great asset in the tax preparation industry. 
  • You can’t help but pay attention. Do you pay attention to every detail of just about everything? Do you find yourself catching errors in movies or noticing that one small smudge on the table at the buffet? As a tax preparer, you’ll need an eye for details. 
  • You have great communication skills. You’ll need to be able to explain everything you’re doing in detail to your customers. You’ll also need to draw information out of them to maximize the value you bring to the table. So strong communication skills are a must. 
  • Ability to work independently. As a tax preparer, you’ll often be working on your own, so being able to manage your time and workload is essential.
  • Great research skills and be highly organized. Tax laws and regulations are always changing, so staying up-to-date with the latest information and being organized in your record-keeping will help you succeed as a professional tax preparer.

What Do I Need to Start a Tax Preparation Business?

If you’re ready to start your tax preparation business, you’ll need the following:

  • Preparer Tax Identification Number: You can apply for your PTIN online.
  • Knowledge: If you haven’t already, seek education in tax preparation. This isn’t an industry that allows room for learning as you go. 
  • Business registration: You’ll need to decide what type of entity you want your business to be and where you want to register your business. Then follow the required steps to register your business in the state you choose. 
  • Licensing: Some cities, counties, and other municipalities may require you to obtain a license to operate your tax preparation business. If that’s the case, obtain all necessary licenses. 
  • Employer Identification Number: Your EIN is your business’s tax ID number. You won’t need an EIN under certain circumstances. Find out if you need one, and if you do, apply for it.
  • Business bank account: Open a business bank account with the financial institution of your choice. Be sure to compare your options, as services and fees vary. 

Steps to Starting a Tax Preparation Business

There are four steps to starting a tax preparation business. These include getting registered, defining your tax practices, getting tools to streamline tax preparation, and growing your tax business. Find an overview of each below, or visit the page “How to Start a Professional Tax Practice” for more details. 

Get Registered 

The first thing you’ll need to do is handle your registrations, which include the following:

  • Business registration: Small tax preparation businesses typically file a “doing business as” (DBA) with their state or form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). 
  • EIN: If your business needs an EIN, apply for one.
  • Electronic Filing Identification Number: If you file more than 11 returns, you’ll need to do so electronically. You can get your EFIN for free online
  • PTIN: Finally, you’ll need a PTIN, which you can apply for online as well.  It takes about 45 days for the entire EFIN process.

Define Your Tax Practice

Once you’re registered, you will need to decide how you’ll generate revenue. Some questions to consider include:

  • Will you provide accounting and bookkeeping services in a year-round business model or take a seasonal approach, offering tax preparation only?
  • Will you focus on business taxes, individual taxes, or a mix of the two?
  • Are there any specific industries in which your expertise will be more valuable?
  • Will you charge a set price for your services or an hourly rate?
  • What will your set price or hourly rate be?
  • What types of clients do you want to advertise to? 

It’s also a good idea to consider your certification options as certifications can help you attract clients. Consider taking part in the IRS Annual Filing Tax Seasons Program, The Income Tax School, or another certification program.  

Get Tools to Streamline Tax Preparation

No matter what industry you decide to work in, the tools you use can make your job as a tax preparation expert easier or harder. A roofer with a nail gun is far more efficient than a roofer with a hammer. Here are the tools you’ll need to be most efficient:

  • Tax preparation software: Software can help streamline your workflow. For example, Intuit Lacerte and ProSeries can make it easy to collaborate with others from anywhere in the world. Intuit is the industry leader in professional tax solutions. Compare Intuit software solutions to determine which is best for your business. 
  • Workflow tools: Software can help streamline your workflow. For example, Intuit Lacerte and ProSeries can make it easy to collaborate with others from anywhere in the world. 
  • Educational tools: Tax codes and technology change regularly. Stay up to date with educational tools like the Intuit Accountants Training Center.  

Grow Your Tax Business

Once you’re ready to begin, here’s what you can do to hit the ground running:

  • Market yourself: Start with a business name and a marketing strategy. Build a website using one of the many drag-and-drop website builders, connect social media accounts, and get listed on websites such as Google Places, Linkedin, and Yellow Pages. Get your business cards ready and take the time to network with potential customers everywhere you go. Also consider taking advantage of paid marketing opportunities. 
  • Expand your practice: If you want to grow your business beyond seasonal tax preparation, you can add services like accounting and bookkeeping for small and medium-sized businesses. This won’t just help your business grow — it will lead to more consistent revenue throughout the entire year.

By following these step-by-step guidelines, you can start your own tax preparation business from home with ease. Remember to register your business, define your tax practices, get the tools you need to streamline tax preparation, and grow your business by marketing yourself and expanding your practice.

Grow your business with Intuit TurboTax Verified Pro

We understand that starting your own tax practice from home can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding clients and building credibility. Intuit has a partnership program to help those with established business entities (DBA, LLC, CORP, Partnership, or sole proprietorship) grow their business through Intuit TurboTax Verified Pro. You can jump-start your business and focus on providing the best service to your clients.

As a TurboTax Verified Pro, you’ll have access to Intuit’s network of thousands of potential customers, referrals, and local marketing support. This means you won’t have to spend as much time marketing yourself or building your client base from scratch. Instead, you can leverage Intuit’s brand name, resources, and support to fast-track your success and build a tax business quickly. Plus, there’s no upfront cost to becoming a TurboTax Verified Pro.

If you’re worried about onboarding clients, Intuit’s AI-powered client management portal can help. It will reach out to customers on your behalf to complete documents, reducing the amount of data entry on your end. You’ll also have access to many tax experts to help you with any questions.

So if you’re looking to start your own tax practice and want support with marketing, acquiring, and onboarding clients, consider becoming an Intuit TurboTax Verified Pro today. It’s a great way to get started without worrying about upfront costs and with the support you need to succeed.

Other Career Opportunities for Work From Home Tax Jobs

It’s important to understand the drawbacks of starting your own business before taking the plunge. Some drawbacks of business ownership include:

  • Risk: You will need to make a financial investment to launch your business. You’ll have to pay for business registration fees, technology, office supplies, and marketing. If things don’t work out, you won’t get that money back. There’s also legal risk. For example, you may be held liable for malpractice if you give bad advice. 
  • Other skills: As a business owner, you’ll need to wear multiple figurative hats. You’ll need managerial skills, marketing skills, and other skills that aren’t directly related to accounting or tax knowledge. 

If you’re not quite ready to start your own small business, becoming a remote tax preparer with a firm like Intuit is a great option for self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs alike. With the rising demand for tax preparation services, there’s never been a better time to get started.

In 2022, TurboTax helped more than 50 million taxpayers process $82 billion worth of returns. Demand only continues to rise, and the industry needs more qualified professionals who want to leverage their tax knowledge to earn income while working from home. 

When you sign up to become a remote tax expert with Intuit, you’ll get all the office equipment and training you need to work in a virtual setting. You’ll also enjoy other benefits that typically only come with business ownership, like the ability to choose your own set of schedules. 

Benefits of Becoming a Tax Expert With Intuit

Becoming an Intuit tax expert comes with several perks and benefits:

  • Flexible scheduling: Intuit lets you choose from a set of schedules that works for you. 
  • No commute: As an Intuit tax expert, your job is 100% remote. That means you work in a virtual office in the comfort of your own home. 
  • Free equipment: Intuit invests in all the equipment you need to get your virtual office up and running. 
  • Better work-life balance: When you work from home and choose your own set of schedule, it becomes easier to balance work with your lifestyle. 

Check out a day in the life of a TurboTax Live Expert. 

Apply for Tax Associate or Tax Expert Jobs

Receiving a badge from Intuit Academy allows you to apply for a position as a tax associate. Intuit Academy allows you to download a badge proving that you successfully completed the course and exam. Once you get a badge from Intuit Academy, a recruiter will reach out to you to discuss career opportunities. Here are the positions that are currently available for you to apply. 

Tax Associate (Remote/Seasonal)

  • Minimum 2 seasons of paid tax preparation experience, with a minimum of 30 tax returns per tax year required. If you have the Intuit Academy Tax Level 1 badge, then you only need 1 year of paid tax prep experience with 30 tax returns per season. 
  • Prior tax preparation experience in a tax practice or retail setting 
  • Ability/motivation to expand expertise and obtain a tax credential or certification — Intuit offers a program for obtaining your enrolled agent (EA) credential
  • Knowledge of tax laws and tax concepts and familiarity with Form 1040 and schedules
  • Preparer tax identification number (PTIN) required

Credentialed Tax Expert (Remote/Seasonal)

  • Possess active unrestricted credential: EA (Enrolled Agent), CPA (Certified Public Accountant), or Practicing Attorney
  • Possess or be able to obtain any related state licenses, certificates, permits, or bonds
  • Possess active PTIN
  • Have 2 or more years of recent experience preparing federal and state individual 1040 tax returns for clients/customers, using commercial tax preparation software
  • Bilingual a plus

Bilingual Spanish Tax Expert (Remote/ Seasonal)

  • Possess active unrestricted credential: EA (Enrolled Agent), CPA (Certified Public Accountant), or Practicing Attorney
  • 2 or more years of recent experience preparing federal and state individual 1040 tax returns for clients/customers, using commercial tax preparation software
  • Possess or be able to obtain any related State licenses, certificates, permits or bonds
  • Possess active PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number)
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) communication skills (written & spoken) required

How Can I Get Started if I Don’t Have Any Experience? 

You don’t need experience to become an Intuit tax expert , but you do need to be willing to learn. Intuit offers all the training you need for free at Intuit Academy. Click the blue “Sign up for free” button and fill out all required fields. This will give you access to a library of educational content containing everything you need to excel as a tax preparation expert with Intuit. 

The Talent Acquisition team is dedicated to connecting people with exciting career opportunities and partnership within Intuit. The team works with Intuit's Tax and Bookkeeping experts, recruiters, and thought leaders to provide valuable resources, insights, and opportunities to help people achieve their career goals and business ambitions.