With signs pointing to a looming recession, many are wondering how to prepare to weather the storm. Taxes are something that exist no matter the economy, and training people to do taxes is a great way to ensure they have a recession-proof career. What’s more, you don’t have to be an accountant to do tax preparation — even someone with a high school degree can work in tax preparation and make a good living. We recently caught up with Aaron Klein, Director of Admissions at National Tax Training School, to learn more about their program.
BW: How did the idea come about to train people to do taxes?
AK: It all began in 1952 when Mr. Ben Eisenberg, the founder of National Tax Training School, was pursuing a career to support his newly established and growing family.
Ben, who had a knack for numbers and had studied and excelled in the field of accounting, was focused on finding a source of income which would allow for a flexible schedule, providing independence to care for his family and at the same time gaining earnings which would cover the expenses and provide for his wife and the little ones. Preparing taxes for others was the perfect solution.
At that time, he happened to have been enrolled in a correspondence course (in an entirely different field) and after encountering disappointments with the quality of the training, came to the realization: why not teach others using the distance learning method, making sure to provide them with quality training in the field of taxation, which was his forte.
That is when the National Tax Training School was born.
BW: What are some common misconceptions about tax preparation as a career?
AK: Firstly, the assumption that preparing taxes is only for geniuses and math whizzes. It’s easier than you think. If you can you do basic arithmetic and follow written instructions, then you have all the tools you need to succeed.
Additionally and most importantly, the notion that you can rely on tax software to accomplish the task is very misleading. Software does not think for you, therefore the IRS loves individuals who blindly use tax software without reaching out to the expertise of a tax professional, because those are the ones who end up paying maximum taxes.
BW: What does the National Tax Training program look like?
AK: The most important aspect of the training is to convey the seemingly complex and bloated tax law in a clear and concise manner using accessible language to easily grasp the subject matter and learn – by example – how to practically apply the issues at hand.
The course is broken down into 20 manageable self-paced lessons. Each lesson consists of readings, self-practice quizzes, additional online resources and audio summaries, case studies which reflect real-life tax scenarios, and an exam.
In addition, an instructor, who is an expert in the field of taxation, is assigned to each student for assistance in the studies, answering students’ questions, and providing guidance to help students achieve their learning goals.
Upon completion of the course the student receives the book “Building A Profitable Tax Practice” a valuable guide written by the school showing you how to quickly build a flourishing full-time or part-time tax preparation business and keep it running smoothly. And of course, the National Tax Training School certificate of completion.
BW: Would this course work well as a continuing education opportunity for people who already prepare taxes?
AK: The Federal income Tax Course would serve as a refresher for those in the tax field who feel they need to attain clarity in taxation overall or in certain tax provisions. National Tax Training School separately offers IRS-approved continuing education courses, so you can stay up-to-date with annual tax season rule changes and new policies.
The course is cloud- based using the Canvas Learning System which we found, after much research and feedback, to be an optimally intuitive and user-friendly platform for online study.
The duration of the course is approximately 150 hours and on average can be completed in 8-10 weeks.
The school actually allows up to 12 months for completion. This course is recommended for 4 college transfer credits.
BW: Why should people consider tax training as a career?
AK: Tax preparation is one of the most extraordinary professions – one that provides not only quicker and greater financial return than almost any other for the time and money invested, but one that is also rich in the immense personal satisfaction that comes from helping and advising the people who depend on the proficiency of a tax preparer.
Tax preparation is a dependable profession, it remains here in good times or bad. In addition, the earning prospects are excellent and permanent because there is a recurring need for tax expertise as every US citizen is affected by taxation on a regular basis.
Perhaps the best feature of all is the flexibility of tax work. You can start your business at home, or in an office, on a seasonal or year-round basis, part time or full-time; or choose to work for a tax firm. The earnings of a tax professional is limited only by the time the practitioner chooses to devote to it.