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Income Tax Preparer FAQs

 

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Income Tax Preparer Frequently Asked Questions

The income tax courses are designed for experienced income tax return preparers and students interested in becoming income tax professionals. The College is an IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider. The designation allows students to receive IRS continuing education credit when enrolled in some of the TAX courses. Please review the Income Tax Preparer page for more information about available courses.

Schedule of Income Tax Preparation Classesnew window

 Questions frequently asked by students interested in becoming tax preparers

You have several TAX courses, which course should I take if I want to become a tax preparer?

The TAX003 Income Tax Preparation course is designed for students new to the field. Students with no or limited tax experience may consider enrolling in this course. Limited experience can include completion of tax-related courses in an undergraduate program of study, practice preparing personal tax forms, and tax preparation self-study.

 How do I become a professional income tax preparer in Maryland?

Assuming, you have little to no experience with income tax preparation, the process begins with enrolling in the TAX003 Income Tax Preparation course. While enrolled in the course, you are encouraged to register for a PTIN issued by the IRS and the Maryland Tax Preparers examination. Information about the additional requirements is addressed in other FAQs below.

 What is a PTIN and how do I get one? Do I have to pass a test to get a PTIN?

PTIN is an acronym for Preparer Tax Identification Number. The PTIN is issued by the Internal Revenue Service to paid preparers so they do not have to disclose their Social Security number on the returns they prepare. There is a fee to acquire a PTIN but no exam is required.


Questions frequently asked by experienced tax professionals

I have been doing taxes for years, but I heard I need to pass an exam?

Beginning with the 2015 tax season, tax preparers in Maryland are required to have passed a state exam before continuing to provide tax services. The TAX002 Individual Tax Preparer Exam Test Prep is a four (4) hour course designed to familiarize experienced tax preparers with the exam and provide practice questions and answers which are developed by tax experts. More information about the state requirements can be found on the Maryland Department of Labor  page Maryland Board of Individual Tax Preparersnew window.

How do I renew my PTIN with the IRS?

 The PTIN renewal process is explained on the IRS website. PTIN Requirements for Tax Return Preparersnew window

I am an experienced tax professional. Will my continuing education hours be reported to the state of Maryland and the IRS?

The TAX006: Maryland Individual Tax Preparer Continuing Education course provides 15 hours of IRS approved continuing education hours and 17 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) hours recognized by the Maryland Board of Individual Tax Preparers Maryland. Maryland Board of Individual Tax Preparers requires that tax return preparers maintain their CPE records and have them available if requested for review. The College does not report completion of CPE hours to Maryland. The College issues a certificate of completion and students can retrieve an unofficial transcript from the MyMC account to document completed hours. More information about the state requirements can be found on the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation page Maryland Board of Individual Tax Preparersnew window.


As an IRS approved continuing education provider, the College is required to report the completion of approved programs to the IRS for all students who completed the course and provided a valid PTIN. Students are allowed to submit their PTIN on an information form during the TAX006 course.


Those who passed the Registered Tax Return Preparer test and certain other recognized national and state tests are exempt from the federal tax law refresher course with the test. You need 15 hours of continuing education each year to obtain an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion.


The TAX006 course includes 15 hours of continuing education eligible for IRS credit and two hours of Maryland tax law topics, as required by the Maryland Department of Labor.:

  • Ten (10) hours of federal tax law topics
  • Three (3) hours of tax law update
  • Two (2) hours of ethics
  • Two (2) hours of Maryland tax law topics


For more information about the Annual Filing Season Program, review the IRS website. Annual Filing Season Programnew window

How do I receive my Record of Completion from the IRS for the Annual Filing Season Program?

Exempt individuals (including former Registered Tax Return Preparers) must also consent to the Circular 230 obligations to officially participate in the Annual Filing Season Program.  Preparers who pass the Maryland Tax Preparer exam are exempt from the six-hour federal tax law refresher course with test and are considered exempt.

More information can be found on the IRS website. Reduced Requirements for Exempt Individualsnew window

What are the benefits of getting an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion?

In addition to being included in the public directory of tax return preparers, the Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion differentiates you in the marketplace. The IRS launched a public education campaign in January 2015 encouraging taxpayers to select return preparers carefully and seek those with professional credentials or other select qualifications.

Also, beginning Jan. 1, 2016, there will be changes to the representation rights of return preparers.

Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents will continue to be the only tax professionals with unlimited representation rights, meaning they can represent their clients on any matters including audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals.

Annual Filing Season Program participants will have limited representation rights, meaning they can represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

PTIN holders without an Annual Filing Season Program – Record of Completion or other professional credentials will only be permitted to prepare tax returns. For returns prepared and signed after December 31, 2015, they will not be allowed to represent clients before the IRS.

For more information about the Annual Filing Season Program, review the IRS website.  Annual Filing Season Programnew window

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