If you’re visiting this page, it’s probably because you’ve completed your 60 hour CTEC basic income tax course–if that’s the case, congratulations!
But now you’re probably thinking to yourself…what do I do now that I’ve completed my 60 hour CTEC basic income tax course?
Don’t worry about a thing, just read these directions below so that you’ll have a smooth and easy process after completing your 60 hour CTEC course, we have all the steps laid out for you right here in this blog post! CTEC has made some updates to their registration process, so we’ve updated these instructions, as well.
(*Please note that these directions will be helpful to you no matter if you used Pronto Tax School, Inc. as your education provider or not.)
Complete 60 Hour CTEC Course
Well first of all you need to complete the 60 hour CTEC qualifying education course. This course is a requirement for working as a professional tax preparer in California. You can take the 60 hour CTEC course online and it must be provided by an education provider that’s approved by the California Tax Education Council, such as Pronto Tax School, Inc.
Keep the Certificate of Completion for the course for your records. However, you do not need to mail the Certificate to anyone, as the hours reporting to CTEC is done electronically.
Make Sure Your Education Provider Has the Last Six Digits of Your Social Security Number
CTEC uses the last six digits of your Social Security number to “credit” your 60 hours and create your CTEC Identification Number.
If Pronto Tax School, Inc. is your education provider, you have instructions at the beginning of your course about how to input your last six digits of your Social Security Number into the “My Account” section of our system. As long as that information is in our system before you complete the course, we will report your 60 hours ASAP through our provider account at CTEC. Please allow 24 hours for the hours to be reported (although typically it’s much faster).
If you did not input your last six digits of your Social before course completion, just create a customer service ticket on our system and send the last six digits of your Social in that ticket, so that we can report your hours immediately; we will send you a confirmation once those hours are reported.
Get Your PTIN at IRS.gov
The Internal Revenue Service issues every tax professional an “ID number” called a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). You can go online to IRS.gov and apply for your PTIN.
Typically it’s very easy and fast to get a PTIN and, again, you can do that right here at IRS.gov.
Get Your Tax Preparer Bond
Every California tax preparer is required to have a $5,000 surety bond. No this bond does not cost $5,000, rather it provides $5,000 worth of protection to the public if you cause some harm to the public by your actions as a professional tax preparer.
If you need any help with your tax preparer bond, we recommend Ingrid Ceballos at Pronto Insurance. In addition to being an insurance professional, Ingrid is a tax professional just like you, and she will definitely take care of you with great service in English or Spanish.
The phone number to reach Ingrid at Pronto Insurance and set up your CA tax preparer bond is 310-651-5060 and here is the office location information.
Register with CTEC
OK so now you have your course completion Certificate, your hours have been reported to CTEC under the last six digits of your Social Security Number, you have a PTIN, and you have your tax preparer bond, you’re ready for the next step:
To to the website for the California Tax Education Council (CTEC), located at www.ctec.org.
Click on the “New Preparers Application” button and then you should see an option to “Click Here to Start a New Application.”
Start your application with CTEC, right there on the ctec.org website.
In filling out your application, you’ll be creating a “preparer account” on ctec.org, which you’ll use all throughout your relationship with CTEC (annual renewals, etc.)
Now this is step where a couple tricky things come into play, so let’s make sure we make this clear for you…
CTEC Adds Live Scan Fingerprinting / Background Check New for 2020
To complete your registration with CTEC, you now must pass a fingerprinting / background check process–the notorious “Live Scan.”
In other words, your application will be held by CTEC as “pending” until you complete the Live Scan.
CTEC provides you with the Live Scan forms you’ll need within their application process on their website (described above). They’ll also give you a list of Live Scan providers in your area.
You’ll need to then get that Live Scan done with the proper forms provided by CTEC. This way, the Live Scan provider will communicate the results to CTEC.
CTEC will then approve or deny your application to become a professional tax preparer.
If you’re approved, they’ll notify you via EMAIL.
If you’re denied, they’ll notify you via REGULAR MAIL, United States Postal Service.
If you get denied, you do have some appeal rights, that you can take up with CTEC directly.
It can take a few weeks or even months to complete the Live Scan process, so get on this right away if at all possible.
Once your fingerprint / background check is approved, you’ll go back into the application at ctec.org and be able to complete your CTEC registration.
CTEC will grant you a “preparer ID number” which will then be your number that you use throughout the years of being a CTEC-registered tax preparer (CRTP).
Note: CTEC Uses a “Fiscal Year” of November 1 – October 31
Now one thing that confuses a lot of new CRTPs is CTEC’s use of a “fiscal year” of November 1 through October 31.
This means that anytime you register with CTEC, your registration “covers” the period leading up to October 31 of that year. As a new tax preparer just completing the 60 hour course, when you register with CTEC may impact whether or not you need to take the annual 20 hour CTEC renewal course, and then renew your registration before October 31. So, if you’re seeking to avoid needing to take that 20 hour CTEC renewal course, you will want to wait to complete your initial CTEC registration until November 1 or later of the current year.
In our opinion, you should be taking the 20 hour CTEC course anyways, so that you have all the most recent tax updates. Nevertheless, we do want to be clear that if you register before October 31, you’ll need to renew your registration by October 31. Whereas if you wait to register until November 1, your registration will be good until October 31 of the following year.
If you want to verify any of these rules with CTEC itself, please visit www.ctec.org and you’ll see their contact info there.
If You Plan to Work Self-Employed, Get Your EFIN
An Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) is required to electronically file tax returns to the IRS. And nowadays, electronic filing is required for any tax professional who files 10 or more tax returns per year.
If you’ll be working at a company, you’ll use the company’s EFIN to e-file. If you want to work on your own, you’ll need to apply for your own EFIN.
If it’s anytime close to tax season, you should apply for your EFIN immediately because it takes 45-60 days for IRS to approve it.
If You Plan to Work Self-Employed, Get Your Discounted Tax Software
Speaking of working on your own, if you need high-quality, super-affordable tax software, we have an exclusive discount on the best tax software for beginner-to-intermediate tax professionals.
We have a limited number of licenses at this pricing and we sell out every year.
Here are the details on our exclusive tax software deal and you can also download a demo version of the software at this link, to test it out.
If You Plan to Work Self-Employed, Let’s Talk
If you want to work for yourself as a self-employed tax professional, we typically recommend “starting small” and building up a home-based tax preparation and consulting business.
To help you understand what that looks like, we created this free ebook for you, called How to Work Fewer than 100 Days Per Year, While Earning More than Most People Who Work 365 Days Per Year. This ebook also tells you about the options for working as an employee in a tax business, in addition to the self-employment option. You can click here to download that free ebook now if that’s of interest to you. email firstname.lastname@example.org describing what success looks like for you.
We have helped hundreds of people start and grow their own tax businesses and we might be able to help you, too. Click here to download the free ebook to get more info about your options.
Need Your 20 Hour CTEC Course?
Last but not least just keep in mind that if you registered with CTEC for the first time before October 31, you need to do your 20 hour CTEC course before October 31, and then renew your registration for the “new” year of November 1 – October 31. Because remember, CTEC uses a fiscal year, not a calendar year.
Is this confusing?
Welcome to the wonderful world of taxes!
Might as well learn to pay attention now because you’re going to need that skill every day from here on out.
The good news is, by completing your 60 hour CTEC course and following these detailed directions above, you have PROVEN that you have what it takes to pay enough attention to be a true tax pro.
Once again, congrats to you!!!
If you have further questions, always feel free to send us a message or call the Tax Education Hotline (310) 422 – 1283.
Don’t forget to check out the other training programs we have at ProntoTaxSchool.com.
We would love to be a resource for you as you continue your journey as a professional tax preparer.
- After You Complete Your 20 Hour CTEC Course Here’s What You Do Next
- Looking For The Best Tax Software for Tax Preparers?