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List of Schools with Free Online Tax Preparation Courses

Jan 08, 2019

Wondering if a career in tax preparation is right for you? Or are you simply looking for more information on filing your own taxes? Check out these resources for free or low-cost tax prep courses that will fit the bill.

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Info on Schools Offering Tax Preparation Courses Free Online

Schools generally don't offer free online courses in tax preparation, although they may offer a related tax accounting course through their OpenCourseWare (OCW). One credible source of free online tutorials in tax preparation is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a state tax department. This article offers a selection of courses from various sources, with free and low-cost options for individuals and business owners who need help preparing their own taxes or for those interested in preparing taxes professionally. None of these courses award academic credit to the user, though some may offer a certificate of completion.

Free Online Tax Preparation Courses

IRS

The Internal Revenue Service provides many free educational resources for individuals and business owners. Through informative videos and workshops, the IRS can show you how to understand and prepare your own tax forms. Learn what forms you need, whether you are eligible for tax credit, how to manage payroll, and how to set up a retirement plan for your business. You can also study current tax laws, regulations, and changes.

  • Link and Learn Taxes is a series of self-paced lessons for individuals who have volunteered to prepare income taxes for the elderly and low-income earners. The free online courses are available at basic and advanced levels for the 2018 tax year. There are also military and international tracks, among others, where the user can learn tax laws pertaining to these groups.
  • Get Right with Your Taxes introduces viewers to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which provides free tax help for qualified individuals. This 15-minute video also covers the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, and work opportunity tax credit, plus simple information on how taxes work and what you need to know to file your taxes correctly. Additionally, the video informs viewers of tax scams and the right steps to take if they have not filed a return in time and owe back taxes.
  • Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop covers federal tax preparation and planning strategies, including a discussion of topics pertinent to home-based businesses. This course's nine lessons also go over setting up retirement plans for business owners, hiring employees, and managing payroll in relation to tax withholdings, among other topics. Relevant links to more information about IRS forms and regulations are also included.
  • Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families is an IRS webinar regarding tax reform changes of 2018. In this webinar, you'll get a basic rundown of important changes that may apply to your tax returns, including changes to standard and itemized deductions, child tax credits, retirement accounts, and more. Moderator Veronica Tubman also answers questions and directs listeners to further resources. The IRS hosts similar webinars regarding tax reform changes for employers and small businesses.
  • Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself: Tax Security 101 was originally broadcast in 2018 and covers the legal and ethical responsibilities of tax professionals when it comes to data security. With cases of data theft on the rise, it is more important than ever to safeguard the personal financial information of clients. The webinar discusses written security plans, symptoms of data theft, and the steps you can take to report and prevent it.

Platinum Professional Services

Platinum Professional Services offers IRS-approved tax prep courses online as well as CPA and notary courses. In addition to a free course for prospective tax practitioners, Platinum Professional Services has paid prep and CE courses for IRS-credentialed tax preparers based on the most current federal and state tax laws. Tax news and regulatory updates are featured on the company blog.

  • Free IRS Tax Course (2018) could be of use if you're interested in becoming a professional tax preparer. This free tax course serves as an introduction to current IRS laws, forms, and schedules. Covering six units, this course contains 100 questions to test your knowledge of deductions, credits, income adjustments, gains and losses, liability, and professional ethics. Students may access this course after creating a free user account on the website.

Liberty Tax

Nationwide tax agency Liberty Tax offers online tax courses for those interested in becoming tax preparers. These courses are somewhat self-paced; they consist of 19-20 video classes that may be studied on any schedule, though there is a 10-week deadline to complete all the material. Students must also pass each exam with a score of at least 70%. Although tuition is free, completion of the course requires the purchase of a textbook, which varies depending on the course. Liberty Tax also offers low-cost live classroom training at many locations across the United States.

  • Online Income Tax Course consists of 19 online lessons that cover Form 1040 individual income tax preparation fundamentals, such as filing requirements, exemptions and dependents, adjustments and credits, deductions, and more. While students may view these lessons any time, the course must be completed by a certain date, which is given on the website. Passing the course requires virtual attendance for all 45 training hours, plus a passing score of 70% or above on each exam. This course is tuition free, but students must purchase the textbook, which is $199.
  • Online Income Tax Course: Oregon or California Liberty Tax also offers special courses for those who intend to practice in Oregon or California. These courses cover Form 1040 basics, plus respective supplemental state material required for credentialing. Textbooks for these courses cost $239 each, but the cost does include certificates for successful completion.
  • Online Rapid Course is a self-paced, accelerated course that covers the basics of preparing a simple individual income tax form. This course, which was made available in 2018, requires only 15 hours of study, plus a $49 textbook fee.

H&R Block

Students interested in becoming professional tax preparers may also study with H&R Block's Block Academy, which offers partially online income tax courses at many of their physical locations. These courses run at specific times during the autumn and meet for 3-hour sessions, two or three times a week. These classes run during day, afternoon, or evening hours and are designed to be flexible to accommodate a busy schedule. Classes are also tuition-free but do require the purchase of class materials and software. In most states the cost is $149, or $99 in Minnesota.

  • The H&R Block Income Tax Course teaches students professional methods of tax preparation, beginning with an overview of tax theory before delving into practical subjects, like current laws and regulations, filing requirements, dependents, interest and dividends, credits, adjustments, and professional ethics. Course activities include exams, real-world tax exercises, and online self-study sessions. Students receive a certificate upon successful completion of this course. This course may be sampled for free after setting up a user account with Block Academy.
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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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