I have officially finished tax school and will be starting work as a tax preparer in the next couple of weeks. The first week of tax school was focused on learning some basic tax topics and I found it to mostly be a waste of time. Especially since I wasn’t getting paid. Other tax schools charge you to attend so I guess going for free was a good deal. There wasn’t anything covered in the first week of school you couldn’t have learned from a Pub 17 and 1040 instruction book. Still about half the class apparently found it too difficult and dropped out. Of course, I have been doing my own and other family member’s taxes for years and had several tax classes in law school so I should know at least the basics of taxes.
The second week was a little better since it involved learning the computer software and it was paid. I’m a little uncomfortable with the products and fees. They seem rather high to me but I guess they are in line with other tax companies. I’d never pay that much to get my taxes done but I do know a lot of people aren’t capable (or at least don’t think they are capable) of preparing their own taxes and consider the tax preparation fees reasonable in relation to the big refund they receive. Getting a big refund isn’t smart from a personal finance perspective but I suppose the clientele see it as a good deal.
I’m considering starting my own tax preparation business. The experienced preparers don’t seem to have much more, if any, tax knowledge than I do. I’ve done a little research and it doesn’t look like it would be too difficult to start. I’ve already got a PTIN, I’d just need to get an EFIN and the proper tax software. The hard part would be getting customers. Since I need to concentrate on studying for the bar the next couple of months I might wait until next year before starting my own business. I’ll make up my mind in the next couple of weeks.