According to history, in 1789, at the age of 83, Mr. Franklin expressed the above opinion in French in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, a scientist.
Others, who preceded Franklin, had similar quotes to this topic. Daniel Defoe, the writer of The Political History of the Devil in 1726, stated that – “Things as certain as death and taxes, can be firmly believed.” Ten years previously, Christopher Bullock, in his novel The Cobler of Preston, wrote that – “‘Tis impossible to be sure of anything but death and taxes.”
However, death is assured in all states, whereas there were 43 that did not collect income tax in 2018. Therefore, if you live in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, or Wyoming, you pay no income tax. Tennessee will be joining the list in 2021. Despite the tax advantages of these states, there is little chance of avoiding federal income tax.
Therefore, as a tax accountant in seven states, you need not be concerned about their tax laws. You can concentrate on keeping up with the current federal tax laws.
You don’t need to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or other professional credentials to prepare a client’s taxes at the state or federal level. Before legally preparing someone’s taxes, the individual needs an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number or PTIN. Those not licensed by the IRS as an Enrolled Agent, a CPA, or state-licensed attorney, have limited practice rights as a tax preparer.
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Become a CPA
The road to being a CPA begins with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting or related discipline. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) accepts the Uniform CPA Exam in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Initially, you need to determine which state you plan to take the CPA exam, as the education requirements can vary. For example, some states require 120 semester hours, whereas another state may require 150 total hours to be eligible for the exam. There are also differences in the number of hours needed in accounting and business.
Each state sets the fee for the CPA license. It is $300 in Michigan, plus an additional $100 per individual for its Application Processing Fee. The cost for licensure and first registration in New York is $427, which applies to accountants licensed in another state who have more than four years of unverifiable experience.
Some accounting firms may pay for the prospective CPA candidate, as it wants its employees to reach the status of having this credential. Entry-level accountants or Associates in the firm may require the CPA before serving clients. Payment for study material and the exam may demand that the employee earn the license within the first two years and pass on the first attempt.
Florida requires that CPA applicants have an additional thirty hours of upper-division courses in accounting or business, beyond the typical 120-hour undergraduate program. These hours must include 24 hours of taxation, auditing, finance, and cost accounting. Students who do not meet these eligibility requirements would incur additional tuition while taking supplemental classes. It is not incumbent on the employer to reimburse the employee to meet Florida’s standards.
Continued Professional Education (CPE)
CPE is a means for CPAs to keep up with state and federal tax laws, and each state mandates its education requirements. In Illinois, licensed tax accountants need 120 hours of CPE every three years. One place to earn the requisite hours is the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The cost varies by course; for example, the AICPA Annual Federal Tax Update ranges from $205 to $289 for 24 credits. Non-members of the AICPA pay a higher price than members. Again, you might have to bear the cost of the CPE, depending on the generosity of your employer. A small boutique accounting operation may not provide an education reimbursement plan.
Grant Thornton LLP is one of the world’s leading companies offering audit, tax, and advisory services with revenue exceeding $1.9 billion. This prestigious firm offers student internships and Summer Leadership Programs. Their investment to future and current employees extends to a list of impressive benefits that include the Employee Assistance Program for tuition. As a prospective employee, the opportunities for payment of CPE or related tax courses increase in major corporations. Generally, revenue and profitability influence benefits.
In summation, there is no obligation for a tax or accounting entity to pay for the means for an individual to practice tax preparation in its state. Whether you work in a tax or real estate practice, the burden is on the individual to ensure that he/she meets the state requirements for licensure and education. As with most benefits, generosity toward each employee usually goes hand-in-hand with companies that have substantial revenue. Furthermore, you will have a better chance of education assistance by focusing on firms with offices across the country. Most company websites publish what benefits it offers.