Anyone who prepares tax returns for a fee in California is required by law to register as a tax preparer with the California Tax Education Council. Tax preparers who 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 are exempt from the requirement.
Requirements to become a new CTEC registered tax preparer (CRTP):
Individuals registering for the first time must:
- 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 (IRS).
- Register and submit the $33 registration fee online.
Annual CTEC Renewal Requirements:
Registered CTEC tax preparers must renew their registration annually by January 15 and must:
- Take a minimum of 20 hours continuing education from a CTEC approved provider, which must include 15 hours of federal tax curriculum (which includes 2 hours of ethics) and 5 hours of California tax curriculum.
- Renew the PTIN number with the IRS each year.
- Maintain a $5,000 tax preparer bond.
- Renew their registration and submit the $33 annual registration fee before October 31 of each year online. ($55 fee if after October 31)
CTEC registered tax preparers who fail to renew their registration by January 15 will be considered new tax preparers and will be subject to the new preparer registration requirements.