Have you ever thought about starting an income tax preparation business, but didn’t know where to start? Not sure what income tax business services you need to learn how to provide, or where to learn them? Want to know how you can have a virtual tax biz right from home? Where do you even turn to learn how to start a tax preparation business?
Our in-depth TaxBiz review is designed to help you decide. You'll see whether this course can get you started right, right from the start.
TaxBiz creator Ben Robinson has been helping students learn bookkeeping through Bookkeeper Launch since 2015. He started TaxBiz to show folks how to open an income tax preparation business or beef up their existing services. TaxBiz and Bookkeeper Launch can help you bring in both tax preparation and bookkeeping business income.
We're sharing our in-depth TaxBiz review to help you decide if this is the right work-at-home course for you. We explored the course content, joined the Facebook group, and spoke to a former student. We did all this to give you a clear picture of how this course can teach your how to start a tax preparation business.
Read on for a comprehensive review of TaxBiz.
Introduction: How to Start a tax preparation Business with TaxBiz
Ben Robinson, founder of Bookkeepers.com, is a CPA who has been doing tax prep and accounting since 1998. Bookkeepers.com is an A+ rated Better Business Bureau Accredited Business. It also has a consumer rating of 5/5 at both the BBB and Google. It has served over 11,000 students to date (a number that will no doubt need to be updated before long!).
Ben is also an Air Force veteran who worked in the extremely demanding field of Air Traffic Control. He had limited time to study for that position, so he had to make it count. Later, he wanted to pass the CPA exam on his first try, and he had two small children at home. Ben says these time challenges led him to explore and develop study hacks, which he shares as a part of TaxBiz.
Because Ben knows how little time many people have, he designed TaxBiz to focus on all the practical knowledge and steps you need to start, market, and grow your own tax preparation home-based business.
TaxBiz Course in a Nutshell
- The course material is regularly updated so it's current with tax changes
- Ben is a personable instructor with a good sense of humor
- Other instructors present easy-to-follow lessons and are well-versed in their areas of expertise
- Support and backup from experienced tax pros who are TaxBiz graduates
- There is an active and well-moderated private group via Facebook.
- Peer support is readily available
- Templates, checklists, processes, and procedures are provided so students don’t have to start from scratch
- Proprietary pricing calculator and branding kit included
- Note feature in each lesson; export to Word or save as a printable .pdf file when finished
- All lessons are available in video, audio, and transcript form
- All external resources mentioned in lessons are linked in the lesson and also listed in a separate resources section
- Lesson videos are brief and well-organized
- Random references to 80s TV and music (a plus for those who enjoy that!)
- Completing the first return is hard for some students; extra support or doing it with a mentor might build more confidence
- This course doesn’t teach the less common 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax) or 1041 (U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts) returns
- Only applies to United States taxes
- If you don't save your notes before logging out, they will be deleted
- While playback speed is adjustable for videos, it needs to be reset each time you start a video
- A few of the lesson videos skip around if you move the cursor over them while playing
- If you don’t get (or like) 80s humor, it can be annoying
How to Start a Tax Preparation Business with TaxBiz: Course Overview
Let’s begin our TaxBiz review by looking at the big picture. TaxBiz is a self-paced course, and the overall layout is clean and easy to navigate.
Each lesson includes a video discussion and/or demonstration, with English-language closed captions and speed/quality adjustment available. Downloadable transcript and audio files are also provided, so you can absorb the information in whichever way or ways best suits your circumstances and learning style. Whether at your computer, driving, or reading at your kitchen table, you can learn with TaxBiz.
TaxBiz has a handy note-taking feature accessed by a button at the top of the page. You don’t have to keep clicking over to a word processing app or scribbling in a notebook. If you export your notes to Word, you can access them anytime.
Another plus is that any outside resources mentioned in the material, such as specific IRS forms, are linked on the page. You’ll never need to go hunting for these important documents!
How to Start a Tax Preparation Business with TaxBiz: A Peek Inside
TaxBiz is divided into four sections:
- 21st Century Tax Skills will help you become a quality tax professional and take you through the necessary steps for starting a tax prep business
- Marketing will help you get your first clients and develop the skills to create a basic marketing plan for your income tax preparation business
- 21st Century Business Resources provides you with templates and checklists to build your systems and run your home-based tax preparation business
- Continuing Education is where you can expand your knowledge via an IRS-accredited program with over 30 hours of material (and more on the way!)
Looking for a comprehensive view of the course content? You can get a more in-depth look by scrolling down to the Curriculum section.
What You Get With TaxBiz:
As a TaxBiz student, you will gain detailed instruction on how to start your own tax preparation business. There are plenty of opportunities to practice new skills as you move through this business tax preparation course. You get access to walkthroughs to assure you are on the right track with the various forms and schedules you’ll deal with. Additionally, there are modules that cover previous years’ returns, so you can confidently assist clients with past tax issues and clean up their accounts.
Not only will you learn the basics of how to start your own tax prep business, but Ben and his team have also packed this course full of other useful material. You’ll prepare to become a business owner by learning money and leadership skills, networking, getting referrals, and how to build your website. There are even pointers on how to consider potential names for your tax preparation business. Ben shares his guerilla marketing techniques and brings in specialists to help you master LinkedIn, your Irresistible Sales Statement, and the ins and outs of making your income tax preparation business its own legal entity (which protects your personal assets).
The Five-Star System
At the top of your TaxBiz student dashboard are five achievement stars. These represent specific milestones along your journey. Some are requirements for all tax preparers, while others are accomplishments that will propel you on your way. Ben Robinson wants students to take action on what they learn, and the Five-Star System encourages this in a tangible way.
First Star: PTIN (Personal Tax Identification Number/EFIN (Electronic Filing Identification Number) compliance
Second Star: Complete Tax Skills lessons
Third Star: Earn your TaxBiz Certificate of Completion
Fourth Star: Launch Your Tax Business
Fifth Star: Get Your First Client
How Long Does It Take to Complete The TaxBiz Course?
Since TaxBiz is a self-paced course, how long you need to complete it depends upon your circumstances and learning speed. However, the base program was designed to be completable in 90 days.
One former student completed TaxBiz in about 2 months, dedicating full-time hours to the course. She also practiced the skills she learned a few days a week to help her solidify them.
Of course, if you are a busy parent, or working around a full-time job or other obligations, you will likely need more time. That’s where the on-demand lessons are very helpful. You can work whenever you’re ready. Most of the video lessons are short, with accompanying exercises or action steps to take after watching. So, even if you only have a few minutes at a time, you can make progress.
You aren’t required to complete a final exam with TaxBiz. However, one is offered, and If you choose to do so, a passing grade will earn you a third-party certification badge to add to your social media, website, and other materials. This badge is clickable and individualized for each student. It will show the work you’ve done to get to this point. This can have a strong effect on how much your tax preparation business can make.
How to Start a Tax Preparation Business with TaxBiz: Who is it for?
At this point, you might be saying, “Robin, this all sounds great, but can I really benefit from TaxBiz?” While I can’t answer this for each reader, there are specific personality and life factors that really help in completing the course and making the most of what you learn.
- Do you want to work from home, and make good money for flexible part-time hours? Then learning how to be a 21st-century business tax preparer may be right for you. Why? Because you can run a tax-preparation business only four months out of the year if you want! And the rest of the time, you can set the hours that work for you.
- Do you have the ability to devote a great deal of time to your home-based tax preparation business from January through April? While you can decide when and where to do your work, most of your tax preparation business income potential happens during tax season, so you will need to put in longer hours during those months to get the greatest profit from your business.
- Do you like working with numbers and helping people? Then you might be a great fit for small business income tax preparation.
- Do you want to build your own business in the way that works best for you? Do you want to scale it to fit your life and leave plenty of room for your family and passions? Well, TaxBiz offers a proven way to do just that.
That said, there are some other things to consider. You need to meet certain minimum standards to provide tax preparation in the United States.
How to Start A Tax Preparation Business: Requirements
What are the requirements for a tax preparer? There are a few, but not as many as you might think.
- You need to be at least 18 years old
- You need to be a US resident
- You need an EFIN (Electronic Filing Identification Number) and a PTIN (Personal Tax Identification Number) in order to prepare and electronically file taxes for others
- You need a secure internet connection because clients will be transmitting sensitive financial information
- You will need access to tax preparation software
Who isn’t it for?
TaxBiz is a comprehensive program for those who want to earn better than the average income for a tax preparation business. While you don’t need a degree or to specialize in mathematics, there are a few things that will exclude you from being able to benefit from what TaxBiz offers.
If any of these are true, TaxBiz isn’t for you.
- You are under 18 (but come back when you are!).
- You have been convicted of certain types of felony. The IRS does not permit people with felony convictions in certain areas to prepare taxes for others.
- You reside outside of the United States. Tax laws are different in every nation, and TaxBiz is designed only to apply to US tax law.
- You don’t enjoy working with numbers at all. This one is self-explanatory; tax preparation requires math.
- You’re looking for a get-rich-quick way to make money. TaxBiz requires hard work, and so will owning your own tax business. Since it will take time to earn a solid income, this isn’t the course for you.
- You don’t want to own your own business. TaxBiz is designed for people who want to own their own businesses. Other training is better if you want to work for a tax agency.
- You aren’t willing to work your butt off from January to April each year – there’s no way around it; a tax professional has to be available for tax season!
How to Start a Tax Preparation Business with TaxBiz: The Curriculum
Ben Robinson describes TaxBiz as a 90-day, step-by-step GPS system to get your business launched so you can start earning money. However, the course is self-paced. There are no penalties for taking as long as you need to thoroughly understand the material.
While writing this review, I found TaxBiz to be a comprehensive course that covers every detail of learning how to operate your own tax consulting business. TaxBiz goes beyond simply teaching you how to prepare taxes. You’ll also learn how to provide year-round benefits to your clients and earn well above the standard tax preparation business income potential.
Because of this attention to detail, I don’t have space in this TaxBiz review to show you everything that’s in the course (it would take you longer to read that than the rest of this review!). Instead, I’ve included a summary for each of the four sections of TaxBiz, to give you a feel for what’s included.
Want to see everything that’s in TaxBiz?
21st Century Tax Skills Section:
The goal of this section is to provide you with basic skills. Once you work through these lessons with Ben and fellow instructors Daniel and Melissa Honan, you’ll understand tax codes, regulations, and laws for all the tax return types the course covers. You’ll also learn the specifics of various business forms and schedules.
But before all that, you’ll need to know how to get around the course, and how to maximize your time and energy. TaxBiz has you covered there, too!
- Start Here: A must for new students, this section contains a welcome message, a tour of the TaxBiz Education center, and study hacks to help you make the most of the time you have for the course.
- Foundations: Melissa Honan walks you through vital compliance procedures, such as getting your Preparer’s Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN), both required by the IRS for professional tax preparers. And, speaking of the Internal Revenue Service, you get a tour of the IRS.gov website, too. You will also learn the essential terms, processes, topics, and skills you need for each of the covered tax return types. You get a solid grounding in pricing, interacting with clients, and getting the job done, from initial consultations to filing.
- Tax Forms: You’ll receive comprehensive instruction from Daniel Honan on the four most important tax forms (1065, 1120S, 1120, and 1040), plus the accompanying schedules for each.
- And more: This section wraps up with five additional modules which help you gather all the information you need to deliver top-tier returns. You will be able to take your client from initial consultation and beyond completed returns to a place where you can advise them on how to build a better financial future. This makes you extremely valuable to your clients!
The goal here is to prepare you to find your first clients effectively, on a budget (or even for free!), and then to scale up your prospecting as you build your virtual tax biz. Ben Robinson teams up with his former Chief Marketing Officer, Ross O’Loughlin; best-selling LinkedIn guide author Melonie Dodaro; and business attorney Spencer Higgins to offer a wealth of information and proven strategies for business and marketing success.
Learn how to define your ideal target market for short and long-term goals. You will be able to determine the difference between breakthrough marketing work and busy work. Ben helps you get inside your prospective clients’ heads to really meet their needs and guides you through the stages of professional relationships.
You finish this section knowing how to craft a sales message that feels good to deliver and makes folks eager to work with you, plus get word-for-word scripts for networking and tips on the best places to find the clients you want to work with.
- Leader U and Money U: Learn the differences between being an employee and the owner/leader of your own virtual tax biz, and how to take leadership action while building and running your business. Get ready to earn by creating the right money mindset to take action with your finances, too.
- Traditional and Online Networking: Proven, low-or-no-cost techniques to network the old-fashioned way and through the internet. Includes scripts and many helpful tips to make building your network easier – even for introverts!
- Website and Social Media Marketing: This daunting area is broken down into the website challenge – a step-by-step guide to setting up your virtual tax professional home base. Plus, get tips and techniques for marketing in social media spaces.
- And More: Do you know what an Irresistible Sales Statement (ISS) is? How to use email outreach to get clients? Why having a clearly-defined niche can increase your earnings and bring added value to your clients, once you have them? How to get referral partners, and why they’re important? How to Yakkity-Yak, and where to do it? Once you get through this section, you will know all of these, and more – like just how to set up your new tax biz in just 7 steps!
21st Century Business Resources Section:
Plain and simply put, systems help you to get your work done efficiently. The goal of this section is to provide you with a library of templates, checklists, and tools to help you build the systems that let you do just that. Ben has a mission that his students will never need to start from a blank page or screen, and he takes that mission seriously!
- Checklists and Documents: This module contains the proprietary TaxBiz pricing calculator. Answer a few questions about your prospective client, and learn the best price to charge for your services – and how to communicate that to your potential client. You also get the Brand Creation Toolkit – a one-stop shop for designing branding that will make your virtual tax business stand out from the crowd. Additionally, you’ll get a collection of policies, checklists, and templates that will help you do your work, communicate with clients and track essential information.
- Tools and Technology: In this module, you get a walkthrough of the Drake Tax Software program recommended by TaxBiz, as well as other good tax preparation software. They also mention the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), and the National Association of Tax Professionals, which provide research support. You will also find links to many more tools and apps you may want to test.
- Prior Years: Sometimes, you will have clients who need previous years’ returns filed or amended. For this reason, TaxBiz includes all forms and schedules for the returns they cover for the four prior years, as well as exercises to help you learn how to prepare these tax documents.
Continuing Education Section:
Something that really impressed me while writing this TaxBiz review is that Ben and his team have a real commitment to continuing education.
The IRS requires tax professionals and enrolled agents to complete continuing education (CE) credits each year. TaxBiz is an IRS-authorized continuing education provider, so your credits here will be automatically recorded in your IRS PTIN account.
This section contains over 30 hours of CE, with more currently being developed. These lessons can be used toward Enrolled Agent or Registered Tax Professional credits if you choose to become one. Also included are lessons on the pros and cons of becoming a registered tax preparer, and how doing so can add value for your clients (and help you earn more from your tax biz, too!).
It’s a one-stop-shop for those continuing education credits and learning – and there’s no additional charge to access them!
- Annual Federal Tax Refresher: The upcoming tax year's version of this 6-credit course for non-credentialed preparers open in the fourth quarter of each year.
- Federal Tax Law Update: This is a 3-hour course required for credentialed tax preparers who want to participate in the Annual Filing Season Program. Includes an exam.
- CE Courses for All Preparers: Courses on the basics of various forms and skills. There is also a course on IRS Circular 230, which covers ethics for tax professionals.
How to Start a Tax Preparation Business with TaxBiz: Student Support
What happens if you run into an especially thorny issue? Support is available to all TaxBiz members via email and the private Facebook group.
The exclusive Tax Biz Facebook group is an incredible resource to talk through tax issues with a large group of experienced individuals. Ben envisions this as a family ready to cheer members on as they grow into and build their tax businesses, and as the go-to location for real-time help. With over 800 members, this vibrant community of students, graduates, and instructors is at your disposal when you need them. Community members support each other by cheering on successes and helping one another work through the obstacles along the way.
One TaxBiz graduate we spoke with says this group is a “priceless” resource with much to be learned simply by reading others’ questions and the replies they received. She did also caution that it’s possible to spend too much time on social media taking in information, though!
As long as you remain a member of TaxBiz, you will have access to unlimited tax law updates at no additional charge. This means you won’t have to go searching for the most current changes each year at tax time. Instead, you’ll always have the most up-to-date information at your fingertips.
As a TaxBiz member, you also have the opportunity to create a profile on the Tax Preparers’ Directory. The TaxBiz team markets this directory. Your listing will bring prospective leads to you. This can save you a lot of time and effort in finding those first clients.
You will also get all updates and upgrades made to the TaxBiz program without any additional charge.
Educational Qualifications & Skills Required
Good news: you don't need to have a degree to enroll in TaxBiz. You also don’t need a certificate to prepare taxes.
Of course, some people are better suited to this type of profession than others. Here are some helpful qualities successful TaxBiz graduates have in common:
- Comfort and competence when working with numbers
- Excellent organizational and time-management skills
- The ability to put in a lot of work during tax season
- The ability to research. The most successful students research their own answers before looking for clarification from others, which means they continue expanding their knowledge base
How to Start a Tax Preparation Business with TaxBiz: Pricing
My TaxBiz review wouldn’t be complete without a discussion of the tuition and related expenses. So, how much does it cost to start a tax preparation business with TaxBiz? In addition to tuition, you need access to a secure internet connection, tax preparation software, and a computer that can run it, at a minimum. If you’re looking for a work-at-home career with little to no initial outlay, this may not be the field for you.
TaxBiz is a membership program. The monthly fee includes access to the course and updates for future years, as tax laws change annually. There is also ongoing support through email, and the online community, and an IRS-approved Continuing Education program. It’s a solid investment in your future, and this kind of quality doesn’t come at bargain-basement pricing.
TaxBix Vs. College: A comparison
While the tuition may cause some sticker shock, it helps to look at what it would cost to get these skills in other ways.
- A four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Tax will cost around $37,000.
- A two-year Associate’s Degree in Accounting and Tax at Ben’s alma mater, the University of Central Arkansas, will cost around $19,200 for the required 60 credit hours.
In both of these programs, you’d need an additional 2-3 years to gain the practical knowledge to prepare taxes and start your business. And you’ll have to follow the schedule set by the program you attend.
By contrast, you can complete TaxBiz in just 90 days, at home, on your own schedule.
Since practical experience and business-building skills are the focus of the program, you will complete the course ready to begin your business. You might even already have clients who are helping you to gain a return on your investment!
It’s also unlikely that those degree programs are going to give you extras. TaxBiz sweetens the pot with some great bonuses:
- Bonus #1: LinkedIn® Success for Tax Pros
- Bonus #2: 1-Year Listing on TaxPreparers.com
- Bonus #3: 1-Year QuickBooks Online Access
So, what does it cost?
One-Time Enrollment: $2,995, then $49/month (actually $37/month if you join now) after 1 year. This additional fee covers the annual update to the Tax Skills section so that you’ll always be up to date on the current tax year’s forms. The course also includes updated continuing education credit opportunities and access to the TaxBiz online community.
Enrollment in 12 Installments: $299 per month for 12 months, then $49/month (actually $37/month if you join now) after 1 year, which covers everything included in the one-time payment plan. You will have access to TaxBiz as long as your membership is active.
There is a 30% discount for Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, Retired U.S. military members, and their spouses.
What if it’s not for me?
TaxBiz has a 30-day unconditional guarantee. Use the course as much as you like, explore the resources and the Facebook community to your heart's content. Then, if you’re not completely sure this is the right course for you, click the Cancel button, and you will have a full, no-questions-asked refund in a maximum of one business day.
How to Start a Tax Preparation Business with TaxBiz: My Final Opinion
There's a quality in every aspect of this course no thorough TaxBiz review should discount: Ben Robinson’s passion for helping people like you develop the practical skills you need to do the work, find paying clients, and run your new business well. That shows clearly in details like the included Study Hacks.
Ben and his team use a visually appealing, engaging teaching style. Ben himself brings his own brand of dad humor to many of the lessons, making it clear he’s enjoying himself. And that makes the process of learning how to create your own tax biz more fun for you, too!
In a more practical sense, TaxBiz can take you from a complete novice to a well-trained virtual tax preparation professional in as little as 90 days. It covers every step of the process, from tax skills to building systems to marketing to creating and growing your biz.
Plus, it offers an exceptional online community ready to celebrate with you and offer you a helping hand when you need it. And there's email support available if you need it.
IRS-approved continuing education credits, third-party accredited certification, and tax law and course updates provided at no additional cost add even more value to this program. An unconditional money-back guarantee means there’s no risk of making a mistake you can’t recover from.
After completing my TaxBiz review, I can confirm that Ben Robinson and his team teach more than the skills needed to prepare and submit tax forms. They also cover what you need to know to start and run a digital tax-preparing business. This course gives sound, time-tested, low-cost ways to find clients and keep them coming back for the value you add to their business lives.
As I said of Bookkeeper Launch, Ben’s first course, if you do the work and serve your clients well, you will have the foundation you need for a very successful home-based business, limited only by how many clients you take on and how many hours you want to work (although you will work plenty during tax season!).
Yes, TaxBiz is a legitimate Anywhere and Anytime career.
Still not sure? Need more information?
Check out this free workshop where Ben gives you the scoop on how to start and run your own digital tax business.
And he also has a full page of FAQs. We've got a sample of the questions that are addressed:
- How will I get clients when I have no experience?
- What if I’m working full-time or I’m a stay-at-home mom and have kids?
- What if I don’t have any experience preparing taxes or running a business?
- Gosh, I’m already so busy and don’t have much time on my hands. I want to start something new but, realistically, when would I have time to launch a new business?
Or if you already know you want TaxBiz, join right now!
Want to chat about TaxBiz? Do you have a question we didn't answer in our TaxBiz review?
We are here to help. If we don’t know the answer, we will reach out to Ben and his team, or to course members. We love finding the answers you need!
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