Tax Professional Designations

Any tax professional with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is authorized to prepare federal tax returns. However, tax professionals have differing levels of skills, education and expertise.

Enrolled agent

This designation is licensed by the IRS. Enrolled agents are subject to a suitability check and must pass a three-part Special Enrollment Examination, which is a comprehensive exam that requires demonstrated proficiency in federal tax planning, individual and business tax return preparation, and representation. Enrolled agents must complete 72 hours of continuing education every three years.
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Certified public accountants

This designation is licensed by state boards of accountancy, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. Certified public accountants (CPAs) have passed the Uniform CPA Examination. CPAs have completed a study in accounting at a college or university and have also met experience and good character requirements established by their respective boards of accountancy. In addition, CPAs must comply with ethical requirements and complete specified levels of continuing education in order to maintain an active CPA license. CPAs may offer a range of services; some CPAs specialize in tax preparation and planning.

Annual Filing Season Program participants

This voluntary program recognizes the efforts of return preparers who are generally not attorneys, certified public accountants or enrolled agents. It was designed to encourage education and filing season readiness. The IRS issues an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion to return preparers who obtain a certain number of continuing education hours in preparation for a specific tax year.
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CPE reporting

No matter where you are in your career, we offer many courses to meet your needs. Our robust courses are led by superior instructors who care about your professional success. After full completion of courses, we'll report CPE to the following agencies:

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS), if a valid PTIN is on file
  • California Tax Education Council (CTEC), if a valid CTEC ID is on file
  • CFP board, if a valid CFP Board ID is on file

If you are a CPA, NATP is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Our sponsor number will appear on any certificate you earn that is eligible for NASBA credit.
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