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Tax resolution is an incredibly lucrative service to bolt on to your existing tax practice. However, because it’s such a narrow, niched service, the traditional education provided to CPAs, attorneys, and Enrolled Agents really doesn’t prepare them to do this type of work.
Unfortunately, neither do most continuing education programs that focus on this topic. Rather, in order to specialize in this work, you are going to want to seek out specialty training that is focused solely on the detailed nuances of tax resolution.
How to Choose a Quality Tax Resolution Training Program
To help you choose a quality tax resolution training program, look for a program that includes the following features:
Look for a Comprehensive Program
First, look for a comprehensive program. Taxpayer representation runs the gamut from setting up simple payment plans with the IRS, to representing taxpayers with Trust Fund Recovery Penalty assessments, to complex tax return examinations, and much more. You want to invest your time and money into a training program that covers a broad range of issues that you’re likely to see as a practitioner.
Choose a Program that Uses Hands-on Exercises
Second, choose a program that uses hands-on exercises to familiarize you with the actual forms, policies, and procedures that you’ll be using to help tax clients.
Choose Training that is Prepared and Taught by Experienced Practitioners
Third, choose training that is prepared and taught by experienced practitioners, rather than those who may only know the material from theory. There is much education in the accounting, tax, and legal professions that is purely academic, rather than pragmatic. While the academic side is obviously important to any profession, when it comes to choosing a training program to learn how to actually do the work for real life tax clients, you want instructors that have actual experience with client work in order to better understand the practical application of what they are teaching.
The Top Tax Resolution Training Programs
While you’re definitely going to pay more for such a program, the old adage “you get what you pay for” definitely applies here.
While a short tax resolution boot camp or online self-study CPE course can be a great start, it simply won’t provide the full depth and breadth that a comprehensive, hands-on program will.
The two most comprehensive tax resolution training programs in the country are the NTPI® program from the NAEA, and the Certified Taxpayer Representative™ (CTR™) program from the NACTR.
Both programs are taught by experienced practitioners, cover a broad range of topics, and encompass hands-on exercises. The programs are comparable in total price, as well.
Primary Differences Between NTPI® and CTR™
There are three primary differences between these two programs and they are:
CTR™ Is More Comprehensive
First, the CTR™ program is much more comprehensive, spending additional time on each topic and providing more time for the case study exercises and student discussion. For this reason, the CTR™ program is nearly twice as long as the NTPI® course.
CTR™ Offers a Hands-on Practicum
Second, the CTR™ program culminates with a hands-on practicum, where students work together in small groups to work through real world client cases.
CTR™ Requires Passing a Comprehensive Written Exam
Third, the CTR™ program requires passing a comprehensive written exam in order to verify mastery of the material prior to earning the professional designation.
Most tax professionals are extremely dedicated to their professional competency, and it is not uncommon for them to pursue as much education as possible.
Completing both the NTPI® and CTR™ programs over the course of time is a worthwhile goal for all tax resolution practitioners.
But initially, a CPA, EA, or attorney may wish to start with the more comprehensive tax resolution specialist training program, which is the Certified Taxpayer Representative™ credential from the National Association of Certified Taxpayer Representatives (NACTR).