Tax Preparation


Learn Tax Preparation

If you're interested in starting a career that provides an essential service or you want to take on seasonal work to increase your income, our online Tax Preparation Career Diploma can help you prepare to take the first steps toward becoming a certified tax professional. Through flexible, online courses, you'll learn how to become a certified tax preparer from home, on your schedule.

  • Can prepare students for an entry-level career as a tax preparer.
  • Our online courses help you learn tax preparation topics such as taxation laws and regulations, types of tax forms, income tax preparation, and more.
  • Graduates are eligible to sit for the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) Tax Certification Exam, which can help you stand out to hiring managers when applying for jobs in the field.
  • Our online programs are flexible enough for you to finish them at a pace that works for you, based on how much time you can dedicate to your coursework each week.
Self Paced

Save up to $190 Ends 7/30/2024

Cost of Program


$989 Save $190


$59/month, Start for as low as $20

1-800-471-3232 (9AM - 9PM ET)

tax preparer at desk with client.

What You Will Learn

  1. How to recognize and describe laws and regulations related to taxation for both individuals and small businesses and apply these appropriately to the preparation of tax forms.
  2. How to calculate gross income and identify those elements of income that are included and excluded when making this calculation.
  3. How to identify common itemized deductions including medical expenses, charitable contributions, and others; identify and calculate tax losses; identify and calculate deductible business expense.
  4. How to apply capital gains and losses to property transactions; accurately complete a basic Form 1040 Individual Tax Return with typical itemized deductions for a family.
Full Program Goal & Outcomes

Tax Preparation Career Outcomes

Job you could pursue after graduation include:

Tax Preparer





Our online Tax Preparation Career Diploma Program can help you gain the specialized skills to qualify for an entry-level job as a tax preparer. Graduates of the program can strengthen their resume and stand out to hiring managers by becoming certified through the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) Tax Certification Exam.

State Licensing Requirements

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in certain fields are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your program. See the State Licensing page for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Penn Foster College is not approved or regulated as a school by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Tax Preparation Course Curriculum

  • 17.8 continuing education units (CEUs)
  • 4 courses
  • 10 exams
  • 1 graded project

Estimated completion time:

  • Fast track = 4 months
  • Average time = 11 months

With Penn Foster, you can learn at whatever pace works best for you. Some learners will be more comfortable moving faster, and dedicating more time, and the fast track estimate will apply to them. The average track will apply to most learners who can dedicate a few hours per week to completing their coursework. The estimated completion times are based on completion times for learners enrolled in this program from May 2021 - April 2022, excluding withdrawals.

As part of our online Tax Preparation course curriculum, you'll gain specialized skills with a focus on the essentials of preparing federal tax returns for individuals and small businesses. Your online classes include:

  • Filing Status and Income Basics
  • Property Income and Deductions
  • Small Business Clients and Returns Filing


Non-US residents: This is a United States-based institution with course materials that are geared toward US job and labor standards. Learners from outside of the US may find that some information and materials will differ from the current standards of their country. Please note, the materials for this program are in English and use the Imperial unit of measurement, not the metric system.

Show Full Curriculum

Tax Preparation Success Stories

Penn Foster’s Tax Preparation Career Diploma Program can help prepare you for the first step toward a new career path. This program has helped recent graduates find new jobs or start their own businesses while learning at their own pace. Learn more about Penn Foster graduates' experiences and how Penn Foster worked for them.
View Student Success Stories
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Amanda H.

Penn Foster Graduate, 2023

“The program was very easy to follow. I loved that I could work at my own pace and the pricing was also affordable.”

Need to provide training for your workers?

Penn Foster currently works with hundreds of leading employers to meet their unique organizational needs.
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Tax Preparation Program Tuition

Take the first steps toward a new career with our online Tax Preparation Career Diploma Program. Simply choose from one of our low-cost customized payment plans below and get started today!

Option 1: Pay in full

Save up to $190 Ends 7/30/2024

Cost of Program1


$989 Save $190

  • Best price. Best value.
  • Pay the full cost today
  • No monthly payments
Enroll Now

Option 2: Monthly Auto Pay Plan

Cost of Program1


  • Pay $59 per month
  • Start for $20 down
  • All major credit and debit cards accepted
Enroll Now

Option 3: Monthly Mail Pay Plan

cost of program1


  • Pay $59 per month
  • Start for $39 down
  • Mail your payments
Enroll Now

California residents please click here for Required California Disclosures.

Need more info or ready to enroll?

Looking for more information on transfer credits, military benefits, or our refund policy? Find this information and more about tuition and enrollment here.

Tuition & Payment Options

We're here to help. Call 1-800-471-3232 (9AM - 9PM ET)

Request Info

Our Proven Tax Preparation Learning Model

Empowering students to reach their professional goals


  • Start anytime
  • No exam due dates
  • Self-paced


  • Digital study guides
  • Self-check quizzes
  • Simulations and videos


  • 24/7 access to online resources
  • Online student community
  • Dedicated Learner Center


  • Expert faculty
  • Dedicated student services
  • Robust learning resources

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Tax Preparation Program FAQs

Where can I work as a tax preparer?

A certified tax preparer has several rewarding career opportunities that they can qualify for. After completing your program and becoming certified, you can start your own business managing tax filings for your clients, find seasonal work with tax prep agencies, or take the first steps toward a career as an accountant working for accounting firms, franchise tax businesses, law firms, and more.

What does a tax preparer do?

Tax preparers compile tax and financial information for individuals and businesses to accurately file local, state, and federal tax paperwork. Some of their regular responsibilities include:

  • Preparing tax returns using an electronic filing system
  • Computing taxes owed by following tax codes and reviewing financial records like income statements
  • Advising clients against tax liabilities

What is the career outlook for a tax preparer?

Taxes are filed by almost all individuals and all businesses in the United States, meaning that tax preparers are always needed. With that in mind, the greatest need for skilled tax preparers is during tax season – usually January to April each year – making it the best time to find work in the position.

How long does it take to become a certified tax preparer?

Becoming a certified tax preparer involves education, training, and successfully passing industry exams. The length of time it takes to become one can vary based on your schedule and pace.