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Professional Associations For Tax Preparers

Every profession has one or more associations that serve its members.  In any profession that is as critical to the national economy as tax preparation, there are literally dozens of associations operating at the state, national and international levels.

There are many reasons why joining one or more associations is a good idea for any tax professional, and these five come to mind:

  • Membership in an association reinforces your professionalism.  Frankly, tax preparers who are intent on doing things incorrectly will not join, if for no other reason than a fear that they might be punished for unethical behavior by their peers.  While such punishment may not carry any legal weight, it can be a powerful blow to business development.  Hence, an active and thriving membership should provide opportunities for more competitive business development.
  • Membership provides opportunities for development.  While continuing education is not mandated for tax professionals in all states, it is a good idea to keep pace with changes to the law and to the profession.  Membership in one or more professional associations can make the process of staying current easier and less expensive.
  • Membership provides opportunities for referrals.  Firms that have difficulty keeping pace with their own growth may choose not to invest in additional staff and setups, but may instead look to partner with other firms to fill their needs through a referral program.  If you are known to them through their own association, it makes them easier to refer that business to you.
  • Membership gives you a voice in the legislatures.  As an individual, you have only a small voice with your elected officials.  But working together, thousands of tax preparers have a voice, and can influence legislation or regulations that we expect to see in the next few years.
  • Membership gives access to industry data.  While leading solution providers such as Drake Software can provide a lot of industry information, much of that is limited by necessity to what we can learn from our own users and published reports.  A professional association is able to gather data from a wider pool of respondents, providing professionals with an even better view of the industry.

But if membership in an association is a good idea, there is still the question of which associations to consider for membership.  To assist you in this process, we have compiled a list of active professional associations for tax preparers.

All of the associations listed here were validated as being in business, and their web sites accessible, as of March 15, 2014:

  • National Association of Tax Preparers (www.natptax.com).  The largest organization dedicated to tax preparation professionals and their success, its stated mission is to connect tax professionals with unmatched education, information and research.  First year dues and application fee of $188.00 must be submitted with application. Yearly renewal is $161.00.
  • National Association of Registered Tax Return Preparers (www.nartrp.com).  Its mission is to be a professional advocate and resource for all tax return preparers. Their goal is to increase the level of professional responsibility, education and resources for all tax return preparers.  Membership begins at $24.99 per month.
  • National Society of Tax Professionals (www.nstp.org).   Its mission is to provide tax professionals with quality education and resources to achieve excellence.  Full membership is $145 per year; associates in the same office as a full member may belong for $75 per year.
  • Association of Registered Tax Return Preparers (http://www.rtrpassociation.org/).  aRTRP is dedicated exclusively to the needs of tax preparers including attorneys, Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Enrolled Agents (EA), IRS Registered Tax Return Preparers (RTRP), and tax preparers with a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).  aRTRP currently serves the needs of all tax preparers until the new IRS Registered Tax Return Preparer requirements take effect. Once the new requirements take effect, you must be an attorney, CPA, EA, or RTRP in order to renew your membership.  Annual membership dues are $100.
  • Latino Association of Tax Preparers, Inc. (www.latap.org).  A non-profit organization founded in November 14, 2005 under the New York State Law. Its mission is to promote the services provided for the Latino & Hispanic tax professionals around the United States based on the integrity, honesty, skill, preparation, and follow up of the laws and regulations.  Regular membership is $150 per year.

Some states have their own professional resources for tax preparers.  These include: 

California Tax Education Council Registered Tax Preparers (www.ctec.org).  California law requires anyone who prepares tax returns for a fee and is not an exempt preparer to register as a tax preparer with the California Tax Education Council (CTEC). Exempt preparers are California certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents (EAs), attorneys who are members of the State Bar of California, and certain specified banking or trust officials.  Requirements to become a CTEC registered tax preparer (CRTP):

  • Take a 60-hour qualifying education course from a CTEC approved provider within the past 18 months.
  • Purchase a $5,000 tax preparer bond from an insurance/surety agent.
  • Obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) from the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Submit an application to CTEC and the $25 registration fee.

Oregon has the following resources:

Maryland State Board of Individual Tax Preparers (www.dllr.state.md.us/license/taxprep/)

Missouri Association of Tax Practitioners (http://motax.org/)

 Other national tax preparation and solution provider associations include: 

The NAEA state affiliates can be found here:

The state CPA and public accounting associations and societies are: 

Finally, for firms involved in international tax return preparation, there is a list of those organizations that may be found here.

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. MIssing: National Society of Accountants. Many of us who are CPA’s or accounting professionals don’t find value in the Wall Street-focused AICPA. The NSA is Main Street-focused and has an excellent TaxTalk forum, certification and affinity/discount programs. Far more valuable for my buck than NATP, to which I belonged for 15+ years but have dropped. Annual dues $199. Also has some state affiliates which offer conferences with excellent CPE opportunities.

  2. Thanks for sharing this advice on choosing a good business to help you with your tax preparation business. Going with an association really is a smart way to help ensure that people will come to you. It shows that you are dedicated enough to be recognized by a national organization!

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