What are the requirements for tax preparer certification?

Tax preparer certification is governed by a range of federal and state requirements. There are also some discretionary employer requirements that can determine what qualifies as certification.

Junior accountants with high school diplomas or other appropriate qualifications may do some tax preparation work. However, the baseline qualification for certification is a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related discipline.

Since 2009, 46 states and the District of Columbia require that people filing SEC reports must be Certified Practicing Accountants and undertake 150 hours of additional coursework above this requirement. California, Colorado, New Hampshire and Vermont do not require the additional 150 hours.

Depending on the nature of the work, employers may stipulate higher qualifications, including a Masters degree in accounting or an MBA.