Ready to revamp your career and become a tax preparation professional? Here are some essential hints you should know to help you achieve your dream.
A career or a bit of moonlighting as a tax preparer sounds good. You’re handy with the software, enjoy working with numbers and don’t mind a few slow months during the year. But even if you are handy with the software found on the market, it’s not quite enough to become an expert in tax preparation. A real pro can offer clients solid tax training and excellent interpersonal skills.
The best path
Choosing the best training requires a bit of thought. What kind of work do you want to do? Do you want to produce simple tax returns for individuals, or do you dream of rolling up your sleeves for commercial clients?
- If you want to become a tax preparation expert who works for a tax preparing company, you can take a 75-hour training course. It will teach you how to prepare a simple return, identify eligible credits and deductions and discern tax strategies for clients.
- To become a true expert in tax preparation, you have to take specialized courses in taxation. Typically, that involves studying to be an accountant. Accountants are the undisputed experts when it comes to filing returns for families, retirees, entrepreneurs and self-employed people. And there’s no reason for ordinary individuals not to have their
tax returns done by an accountant. Fees for this service may be more affordable that you think.
Do you have the skills and qualities to become an expert in tax preparation?
Naturally, the world of income tax requires you to have a facility in working with numbers and familiarity with tax law and bookkeeping software. In addition to these skills, you should also have the following qualities:
- Good communication skills.
- Organizational skills.
- Be able to work independently and with rigour.
- Lots of initiative.
- A sense of responsibility.
- The ability to work under pressure.
- Good judgment and analytical skills.
Depending on where you live, being bilingual may be an asset as well. And last but not least, when it comes to working with clients, discretion is a prerequisite.
The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP)
Each year, the Canada Revenue Agency partners with community organizations to organize tax workshops where volunteers help individuals prepare their tax returns. To participate, you must:
- Be part of a community organization.
- Know how to produce simple tax returns.
- Enrol as a volunteer through the CRA’s website.
- Be able to undergo a criminal records check.
Volunteering with the CVITP is a perfect opportunity to become a tax preparation pro and help your community at the same time. What a great way to start!