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Chartered Tax Professional: What You Need to Know to Get Started

Chartered Tax Professional: What You Need to Know to Get Started

Are you considering a vertical move or a new career in tax preparation? If so, have you considered becoming a Chartered Tax Professional (CTP®)? The CTP career offers tax professionals plenty of opportunities to work with small businesses to help them maximize their tax positions. It is a rewarding career for anyone who appreciates basic accounting and tax preparation.

You should know that CTPs are not accountants. Nor are they Enrolled Agents (EAs). However, earning your certification as a CTP can pave the way to continuing education on your road to becoming an EA or certified public accountant (CPA).

What a CTP Does

A CTP is a tax professional who possesses in-depth knowledge of all things taxes. This includes tax laws and regulations, filing and reporting procedures, and even tax forms. The CPT’s primary mission is to assist clients as they navigate a complex tax system that is often overwhelming to people who do not specialize in taxes.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • Preparing accurate tax returns.
  • Advising clients on deductions, credits, etc.
  • Assisting clients with tax planning strategies.
  • Lending expertise to solving tax-related problems.

The CTP possesses strong math and accounting skills. He or she is also a good communicator with strong problem-solving skills. Those that are self-employed or work for accountants or tax preparation agencies need basic customer service skills as well.

Earning the CTP Certification

No prior knowledge of tax preparation is necessary to earn the CTP certification. Obviously, already being well-versed in all things taxes will make training a bit easier. To earn the certificate, an individual must complete a set of five courses and meet a 300-hour experience requirement.

The minimum course commitment is 168 hours. ProTrain offers two different certification courses. One involves 180 hours while the other is a 190-hour course of study. Upon completion of the courses and the experience requirement, a CPT certificate is issued.

Taking the courses online allows an individual to work at his or her own pace. In addition, a person can already be working in the tax preparation industry when online learning begins. Students can earn while they learn and then leverage their certifications to further their careers.

Opportunities Are Out There

Opportunities for certified CTPs are out there. Although companies of all sizes can benefit from CTP services, your typical CTP works with individuals, sole proprietors, and small businesses organized as partnerships or limited liability corporations (LLCs). CPTs are especially valuable to small businesses that do not have CPAs managing their accounting. Accounting is addressed in-house while CPTs are utilized for tax preparation, filing, and planning.

The CTP’s strongest asset for small businesses is arguably a body of knowledge considered key to navigating complex tax issues. The more effectively tax issues are addressed, the better a client’s tax position and finances – at least in theory.

CTP Certification as a Steppingstone

You may be of mind to get your CTP certification as a stepping stone to a more advanced career and tax preparation. As previously stated, some tax professionals earn their certificates on the way to becoming EAs. An EA can manage more complex tax situations for larger businesses. EAs can also represent clients before the IRS.

Earning certification as a tax preparer opens the door to more possibilities. It also increases the chances of higher compensation and more lucrative job opportunities. Whether you are looking to get your feet wet in tax preparation or are already a tax professional, consider earning the CTP certification. It can only help your career as you move forward in the coming years.