How to Become an H&R Block Tax Preparer

Benjamin Franklin once said there are only two things that are certain in this world, so if you want a job that will always be in demand, helping people with their taxes would be a pretty good choice. To get a job with H&R Block, you can take advantage of the company’s free training course.

Those who pass the course are eligible to apply to work for the company or one of its many franchises as a tax preparer, either seasonally or on a permanent basis. According to PayScale, tax preparers working for H&R Block average about $13.60 per hour. Permanent employees, H&R Block says, are eligible for paid benefits. Those with experience and additional training earn up to $22 per hour on average, according to PayScale.

Becoming an H&R Block Tax Preparer

The first step to getting a job at H&R Block is to take their Income Tax Preparation Course. These H&R Block tax classes cost nothing to take, but you do have to pay for course materials, which is $149 in most states. Costs are less in New York, Minnesota and Tennessee due to state laws. You don’t need a college degree, but you will need a high school diploma or GED in most states.

Classroom-based courses and virtual courses are available in 2021. Classroom-based schedules vary, but the course generally takes 12 weeks. Depending on your location and availability, classes may meet two or three times each week, with each class lasting for three hours. Classes usually start in August or September and finish in November. The course covers topics such as:

  • Wages, Income and Taxes
  • Tax Planning
  • Tax Filing Requirements
  • Depreciation
  • Education Provisions
  • Qualifying Dependents and Support
  • Penalties and Amended Returns
  • Retirement Contributions and Distributions
  • Passive Income
  • Itemized Deductions
  • Farms
  • Interest and Dividend Income
  • Self-Employment Income
  • Tax Software
  • Capital Assets
  • Other Income and Adjustments

H&R Block Certification Levels

Once you are hired by the company or one of its franchises, you may be eligible for additional training and certification. H&R Block uses its own certification designations for its tax professionals. The six designations are:

  • Tax Associate
  • Tax Specialist
  • Senior Tax Specialist
  • Tax Analyst
  • Senior Tax Analyst
  • Master Tax Advisor

On average, H&R Block says its professionals have over 12 years of experience and over 100 hours of training to reach these designations, although it doesn’t state publicly what you need to do to reach these different certification levels.

Opportunities as a Professional Tax Specialist

In addition to H&R Block’s certifications, you also have the opportunity to specialize while working for the company. Specialists can offer advanced services to clients, such as:

Enrolled Agent:​ Certified by the IRS to represent taxpayers in tax issues like audits, an applicant needs to pass an IRS exam, criminal background check and a character suitability check.

Retirement specialist:​ Advises clients on the tax options in their retirement planning, including preparing returns with retirement plan contributions, distributions and rollovers.

Military Service specialist:​ Trained in military tax laws to help members of the military and their families with their taxes.

International Taxation specialist​: Trained in international tax issues, such as foreign earned income exclusions, foreign tax credits, as well as treaty benefits for nonresident aliens.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA):​ Certified by the state to practice accounting, they are also licensed to represent clients in dealings with the IRS.

Small Business specialist:​ Trained in income tax situations pertaining to sole proprietors, partnerships and S corporations.

Investment Income Tax specialist:​ Advises clients on the tax implications arising from investment portfolio options, such as capital gains and losses.