Best tax preparer course for job seekers

Learn about free income tax courses and certification programs. Also learn about tax preparer job requirements at Intuit and see if you qualify.

A woman sits at her kitchen counter while scrolling at her computer.
A woman sits at her kitchen counter while scrolling at her computer.

Tax preparers are professionals who help clients file their taxes and ensure they get the maximum refund. Tax preparers are also responsible for preparing and submitting any required forms to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on behalf of their clients. They work in a variety of settings, including accounting firms, banks, insurance companies, and other businesses that deal with taxes regularly.

Gaining a certificate from an accredited school or program can boost your profile when applying for tax return preparer jobs. Both online and traditional schools offer tax preparation programs; however, online classes, such as those that Intuit offers, tend to be more accessible than traditional schools. This article is going to focus on low cost tax prep courses, from free income tax courses, to certification courses, to continuing education. These training and certificate programs will open doors of opportunities for you to land a job with Intuit, one of the largest employers of tax and accounting professionals in the U.S. So let’s dive in!

What is a tax preparation course?

Tax preparation classes are designed to help you learn how to prepare tax returns as a professional. This important skill can benefit your career and can also be a rewarding part-time activity. Most platforms offer these courses online or in person, allowing you to learn in the environment that suits you best. 

If you prefer hands-on training and instructor interaction, attending an in-person class is the best option. But if you feel more comfortable learning at home at your own pace, or if personal circumstances prevent you from attending classes regularly, then an online course might be the right choice for you. 

About our free tax course: Intuit Academy

Intuit Academy is for those seeking opportunities to better prepare them for jobs that focus on entrepreneurship, knowledge, and experimentation to progress and build a business. Whether you are starting out or want to switch careers, Intuit Academy programs can help. 

Our transformative learning experiences focus on preparing you to earn a certification that makes you stand out from the crowd. The Intuit Academy offers two courses:  

  1. Tax Level 1 (30 hours long) focuses on tax fundamentals. It’ll teach you how to prepare income tax returns and maximize credits and deductions.  
  2. Tax Level 2 (20 hours long) covers more complex tax topics. You’ll learn how to file more intricate federal tax returns for people who are self-employed, own property, and have pensions. This course will help you prepare for Tax Associate or Senior Tax Associate roles. 

What happens after you attend the course?

After each tax preparer course, you’re required to take a 1.5 to 2-hour Intuit Academy Tax examination. After successfully passing both tax level exams, you’ll earn the digital badges: 

  • Intuit Academy Tax Exam – Level 1 
  • Intuit Academy Tax Exam – Level 2 

You can list these certifications on your resume or online career profile. Earning a Level 1 badge will help you qualify for jobs and stand out to recruiters when you apply for Tax Prep Assistant and Tax Associate positions.   

Additional education

Tax laws are constantly changing, both at the national and state level. Continuing education programs offer tax preparers a way to stay up to date on new tax regulations. It’s a requirement for tax professionals to complete continuing education courses regularly if they wish to keep their licenses active. 

Continuing education courses usually aren’t necessary for graduation from a school or program. However, many employers require employees to take these courses to maintain their licenses or certifications. Intuit Academy offers an easy way to take free continuing education classes for tax preparers to refresh their knowledge at their own pace.  

Other free tax preparation courses

If you are looking for a free tax preparer course, check out the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA offers free tax preparation services through local nonprofits and community organizations. You’ll receive training on how to use the IRS’s software, and when you complete the course, you’ll receive a certificate showing your credentials. 

For more in-depth training, there are a few online course options that can earn you a tax preparer certification. These programs provide proof from an accredited school or organization that you have met the highest tax curriculum standards. 

In addition to proving you have the necessary skills to be successful in this field, it also shows potential employers that you are worth hiring. These courses cover topics such as: 

  • Federal income tax preparation 
  • Payroll taxes 
  • Business entity taxes 
  • Sales and use taxes 
  • Estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes 
  • Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) 
  • Tax planning 
  • And more  

The IRS offers the Annual Filing Season Program to recognize the efforts of non-credentialed return preparers who aspire to a higher level of professionalism. Participants are included in a public database of return preparers on the IRS website.  

Apply for tax associate or tax expert jobs with Intuit

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 for.  

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 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, certified public accountant (CPA)
  • 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

Join the Talent Community at Intuit

As a member of Intuit’s Talent Community, you’ll have access to a wealth of industry information, from job openings to educational resources. You can even network with other professionals in your field who share your passion for helping others. 

If you are thinking about becoming a tax preparer, consider taking an online tax preparer course. Since tax laws change year after year, programs like Intuit Academy Tax Level 1 can help you earn your initial tax preparer requirements. Sign up for a class today, or join our Talent Community to start gathering tax preparation resources. If you are ready to work, fill out the interest form to apply for Intuit’s tax associate or tax expert roles!