All Your Questions Answered*
Q. How long does it take to complete NTTS courses?
A. You set your own pace, you may finish in as little as 8-10 weeks, as some students do … or allow yourself more time, if you desire. In fact we allow you up until one year to complete the course. It depends on the amount of time you can devote to your studies, and on your individual speed of learning. We will work with you at whatever speed you find most suitable.
Q. How do I know the total cost of the tax preparation class … and how do I pay for it?
A. The total tuition fees for the Tax Courses are clearly stated on the enrollment forms. You can see the cost of our Federal Tax Course on the course description page. There are no extras to pay for; no unpleasant surprises. And many of our graduates report that a few days work—during the tax season—pays them enough to recover the entire cost of their training.
Q. Do I need any knowledge of bookkeeping or accounting?
A. Absolutely not. And you don’t need any experience in tax work either. Although nearly a third of our students are accountants, bookkeepers or lawyers, most of the others have had no previous experience in tax work at all.
Q. Do I need a high school diploma or a knowledge of math?
A. If you’ve finished two years of high school, you’ve probably had enough formal education to enable you to complete the NTTS course successfully and establish a thriving tax practice. As far as math is concerned, thanks to the electronic calculator, even basic arithmetic skills—simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – are hardly necessary any more.
Q. Must I obtain an IRS license or approval to prepare tax returns?
A. The IRS requires that tax preparers register and obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). You can obtain a PTIN by going to the IRS website at anytime.
Q. Why choose NTTS for training in tax preparation?
A. Our comprehensive in Federal Income Tax course text is written by our own instructors and is designed to impart to the student the knowledge needed to understand the theory and concepts of the US federal tax system. This gives the student the ability and confidence to give tax advice and prepare tax returns for clients and others. It is the goal of NTTS to train our students so that they are proficient enough to work immediately after graduation and even go on their own if they so desire. Other courses such as those given by nationally franchised tax return preparation services, are typically given only before the tax season and are designed primarily to train its students to work for the franchise on their proprietary computerized system preparing simple individual tax returns, and more complicated returns are usually referred to the office manager. While their course is adequate for that purpose, many of their trainees feel a need to take further training. Many of those trainees and former employees come to NTTS to receive that extra training. We are so confident in the quality and value of our course that we invite you to examine the course material and if you don’t think that our course is worth the fee, return it to us in 15 days for a full refund, no questions asked. Lean more about why you should choose our income tax school.
Q. I have tax experience. How can the NTTS course benefit me?
A. Almost one out of every three students comes to us with years of tax experience. These men and women rely on NTTS training to update their knowledge, supplement their skills to meet new job requirements, and expand their opportunities for earning extra money. Learn about our Advanced Tax Course covering both corporate and individual taxation, our Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR course), and our CTEC continuing education (for California tax preparers).
Q. Do all NTTS students take the course with the intention of entering tax work?
A. No. Although our training program was originally designed for the purpose of preparing our students for the tax profession, we have found that a sizable percentage enroll with the sole intention of handling their own personal or business tax matters. Many report substantial tax savings, greater peace-of-mind, and, frequently, sizable refunds obtained through re-filing tax returns for prior years.
Q. What is the scope of your Income Tax Course?
A. Our course is designed to train the student in Federal Income Tax law and procedures so that upon graduation he or she will have the knowledge and skill to prepare tax returns and render other tax services for all types of taxpayers, such as wage earners, salespersons, owners of small business, professionals, investors, home and rental property owners, farmers, etc.
Q. How much does the average NTTS graduate earn during the first tax season after completing your course?
A. While the first year’s earnings of our graduates range from several hundred dollars to as much as several thousand, there is no “average” graduate. The total earnings depend on many factors, such as the amount of time available, the geographical area, the type of clientele served, etc. Learn more about how much tax preparers make.
Q. What type of clients can I expect to serve?
A. A great many of the income tax returns filed are for low income, salaried individuals who have little, if any, outside income and few deductions. These are the simple, routine type of returns that provide the bulk of the business for the larger tax preparation chains. But as the taxpayers’ income increases, their sources of income become more varied. They are likely to invest or trade in stocks and bonds, they usually own their own home, and may also own rental property or have real estate investments, and so on. Correspondingly, they probably have a greater amount of and variety of deductions, tax credits, etc. Finally, you have the self-employed businessmen and women, professionals, or farmers who, in addition to their personal returns, are required to file various business tax returns. Learn more about what you can expect as a tax preparer and possible career paths.
Q. How do the fees for the various types of clients compare?
A. Naturally, returns for the low bracket individuals, because of their simplicity and of the relatively little skills required, bring lower fees. On the other hand, because they can be handled quickly, preparing returns for lower income, lower fee taxpayers on a volume basis can be very profitable. Serving higher income taxpayers and self-employed individuals, though the work is not really complicated, requires a greater amount of skill and obviously justifies higher fees. Moreover, these taxpayers often turn into a prolific source of additional fees by way of recommending new, similarly situated, clients as well as by their frequent need for additional tax services during the year. The typical tax practice grows at a yearly rate of 25 to 50 percent during the early years. Many of our graduates find that the most satisfying challenging part of their business lies in serving these more lucrative types of clients but the NTTS training program fully qualifies you to attract and serve all groups and classes of taxpayers. Learn more about how much tax preparers make.
Q. Could I be a full-time Tax Consultant as soon as I graduate?
A. Yes. However, it has been our experience that a full-time business is best accomplished as an outgrowth of part-time tax preparation. Generally, we recommend that you gain “on the job” experience gradually in order to develop your fullest potential. The typical tax practice grows at a yearly rate of 25 to 50 percent during the early years. But it should not be long before you will be ready to enter the business on a full-time basis, should you so desire.
Q. Is the tax field suitable for an older or physically handicapped person?
A. Absolutely. Tax practice is particularly well suited for older persons, not only because the work involves little physical exertion, but even more so because clients instinctively feel confident in the competence and judgment of a mature individual. Then too, tax preparation is light, enjoyable work performed in delightful working conditions at your own working pace. For the same reason, tax work constitutes an excellent part- or full-time source of income for those with physical disabilities.
Q. Why can’t I learn from one of the Tax Guides instead of taking your course?
A. The relationship between our course and a tax guide can best be compared to that of a language course to a dictionary. A tax guide or reference manual similar to a dictionary is intended to provide answers to specific questions and, when intelligently used, it serves its purpose well. It doesn’t teach; explain; compare; offer examples; train; motivate or test the readers’ knowledge. Nor does it provide the users with an opportunity to apply their knowledge in solving actual problems. An effective well rounded training program, on the other hand, is designed to assure that the students possess and retain a sound grasp of the subject by imparting the knowledge systematically, in logical sequence and in accordance with tested educational procedures.
Q. Does your course cover tax return preparation only?
A. No. Mere mechanical knowledge of how to fill in a tax form, what figure to put on which line, will not make you a true Tax Professional. To earn the rewards and prestige tax work offers, you must know how to search for tax savings possibilities, how to make effective use of advance tax planning, and how to find tax saving elections and alternatives. You will see that the NTTS training program superbly achieves these results.
Q. Will I be able to prepare State Tax Returns too?
A. Yes. The overwhelming majority of states have patterned their method of tax computation almost completely after those used in the Federal income tax. Hence you will find that most of the information you need for preparing the state tax return can be picked up from the Federal return. Furthermore, our exclusive reference aid, “Your Guide to State Personal Income Taxes” will help you familiarize yourself with the general structure and peculiarities of state income taxes so that you will readily be able to prepare state tax returns, not only for your state but for out-of-state clients as well. Please note that in the State of California, Tax Preparers are also required to be licensed by the state. Our California Tax Preparer Course which consists of the Federal Income Tax course and the required additional California instruction is approved by (CTEC) for the Tax Preparer license.
Q. Since tax laws change often, won’t my training become obsolete? What about tax changes?
A. Not at all. Prospective students who ask this question have in mind news items of “sweeping changes” in the tax laws. The fact is that there have been changes only in certain aspects or provisions of the tax law never a change in its basic structure. Even a drastic tax overhaul does not affect more than a small percentage of the income tax provisions; the basic principles and the underlying tax structure were virtually unaffected. NTTS graduates are so well versed in this basic structure that whatever alterations in form or provisions occur from year to year, they require minimum instruction to keep up with them. Our annual Tax Change Bulletins, which will be available to you without charge for up to one year after graduation, will keep you updated on all pertinent changes that take place. Incidentally, most tax professionals welcome these periodic tax law changes because they invariably generate additional business and fees from their current clients as well as motivate previous “do-it-yourself” taxpayers to hire professionals to prepare their returns.
Q. How can I compete with CPAs and other accountants?
A. Most accountant’s primary duties and sources of income are the preparation of financial statements, audits, installation and supervision of accounting systems, management and consulting services, and the like as well as complicated business tax returns. They are, as a rule, not anxious for tax return work for individuals because the seasonal rush interferes with their year-round practice. In fact, we show you how you can obtain valuable client referrals from many of these firms.
Q. What about competition from small tax practitioners and chain-store types of tax services?
A. Competition in tax work is much less of a factor than in most other trades, businesses or professions. One reason is that the demand for professional tax services by far outstrips the supply. There simply aren’t enough tax men or women qualified to serve those looking for tax service during the height of the season. Then too, many of the self-styled “tax experts” serving the smaller taxpayer are poorly trained individuals frequently with outdated knowledge of tax laws and procedures. NTTS graduates, due to their superior training and preparation, soon become recognized as skilled tax practitioners. The chain tax organizations, with their impersonal assembly line, supermarket type of tax service mainly attract the low bracket, less lucrative type of taxpayers. We have found that even many of these individuals will gladly switch to a tax preparer who offers a more personal service at reasonable rates.
Q. Colleges, universities, and other schools near me offer tax courses. How do they compare with yours?
A. By and large, college and university courses deal with the theory of taxation, leaving students with many practical questions unanswered. None of these schools, to our knowledge, have the preparation of the student for work as a professional tax consultant as their objective. Since this is the objective of students who come to us for training, our instruction has less to do with the theory of the tax law than with its application in preparing tax returns completely and accurately, and with tax planning and other needed tax services. In addition, besides providing each student with a thorough and practical tax education, the NTTS course is geared to aid the student in every possible way to establish his or her own successful tax consultant service. Individual coaching in this aspect is supplemented by our book “Building and Operating a Successful Tax Practice”, which answers many business-building question a part-time or full-time practitioner is likely to ask.
Q. I understand that your course is approved for V.A. benefits. What does V.A. approval mean to me? I’m not a veteran.
A. It means simply that NTTS, its faculty, and the course, have been thoroughly evaluated and investigated by the appropriate government authorities and found to merit this approval. It also means that the school must continue to maintain the high standards of quality required to retain this approval.
Q. What if a return I prepared is audited by the IRS? Do I have to be a CPA or an “Enrolled Agent” to represent my client?
A. No. If you prepared the return, a tax preparer may, under IRS rules, represent the client at the audit. The only function that requires CPA or Enrolled Agent status is practice before the IRS Appeals Divisions. And, even then you can accompany the client to explain the return and argue his case. Since only about 1 to 3 percent of returns are audited, and the great majority of those cases are settled at the audit, you will find this restriction to be of little practical importance.
Q. Suppose I should want to become an Enrolled Agent? Will the course prepare me?
A. To become enrolled, you must pass the special enrollment examination given by IRS. The examination encompasses both individual and corporate income tax. Since our Federal Income Tax Course does not cover the corporate income tax you will need additional training to pass the exam. Our advanced “Higher Course in Federal Taxes”, which is open to graduates of our Federal Income Tax Course as well as to others with equivalent tax training or background is designed to provide the student with the tax knowledge needed for the IRS examination.
Q. Is your training course approved by the IRS?
A. IRS does not approve or accredit schools or courses to initially train tax preparers, but they do approve providers of continuing education programs. NTTS is an IRS approved continuing education provider and offers programs that satisfy the annually required CPE credits for Enrolled Agents. Learn more about our tax school and its certifications. (The State of California requires that Tax Preparers also be licensed by the state. Our “California Tax Preparer Course” is approved for this license. For complete information please Click Here)
Q. Will this course prepare me for the IRS RTRP exam?
A. The RTRP exam is no longer required nor is it available. The US appeals court ruled on January 18th, 2013 that the IRS does not have the authority to require that exam. Our Federal Income Tax Course did prepare students for that exam when it was required.
Q. I’m working towards a college degree. Will your course be accepted for college credit?
A. Each school has its own criteria for accepting transfer credit. Select National Tax Training School courses have been evaluated and recommended for college credits by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS). NCCRS lists 1,500+ participating schools willing to award credits based on these recommendations. We shall be happy to send a transcript of your record and information about our training program to the college or university of your choice. See more information about our accreditation.
Q. I would like to study this course with a partner; will we have to pay for two complete courses?
A. No. We have a special low-cost husband-wife plan which enables both spouses – or any two individuals – to take the course, where the primary enrollee pays in full and the partner gets a 10% discount on the tuition fee. Each student receives his/her own set of study materials and submits separate examinations. Both students get full instructional service and graduation certificates. Both individuals must enroll at the same time and all materials and correspondence will be sent to one address. Simply submit two enrollment forms and send a follow-up email indicating that you are enrolling as partners and the appropriate discount will be applied.
Q. I am interested in subscribing to your training program for one or more of my employees. Can you help me?
A. Yes. Because of the difficulties in obtaining qualified staff members, CPAs, Public Accountant, and Tax Service firms enroll selected members of their staff in our training program. Others encourage their employees to enroll on their own by offering partial or complete tuition reimbursement upon satisfactory completion of the course. Many students in our student body are enrolled by firms whose founders or principals are NTTS graduates. We offer special terms for employer-sponsored enrollments; write, call or e-mail us for details.
Q. What if I am laid off or otherwise unable to make a tuition payment on time?
A. Like any other school, we expect prompt and timely remittance of payments as they become due. Understandably this is the only way we can operate efficiently and provide the material and services our students have a right to expect. On the other hand, we realize that there are occasions when a student encounters financial difficulties beyond his or her control, and if we are advised of the circumstances we make every effort to work out a mutually satisfactory arrangement. You will find us anxious to co-operate and maintain an amicable relationship with our students in every way.