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How much does a $5,000 California tax preparer bond cost?
A California tax preparer bond, or CTEC bond, costs $55 for two years of coverage, $70 for three years of coverage, and $80 for four years of coverage. These bonds are issued instantly online with no credit check required, meaning all applicants are pre-approved at the same cost.
How to get a California tax preparer bond
To get a tax preparer bond, select the term length you would like and provide your name and address to buy your bond securely online in minutes. Once your payment is received, your official bond documents will be sent to you electronically.
What is a tax preparer bond?
A tax preparer bond is a type of license and permit bond required for a tax professional to become a California Tax Education Council (CTEC) registered tax preparer— also called a CRTP.
For more information on how to get bonded and become a registered tax preparer in California, watch the video below.
By posting a California tax preparer surety bond, tax preparers are legally bound to conduct business in compliance with the provisions of Division 8, Chapter 14 of the Business and Professions Code. Specifically, these bonds protect any person from a principal’s misstatements, misrepresentations, dishonesty, fraud, deceit or any other unlawful acts or omissions.
California tax preparer bonds are in effect for two, three, or four years from the effective date, depending on which term length you select. The surety can cancel the bond by giving written notice of cancellation to the principal at least 30 days prior to the effective cancellation date.
How to become a certified tax preparer in California
To become a certified tax preparer in California, applicants must register with the state and meet the following tax preparation requirements:
- Take a 60-hour qualifying education course from an approved provider
- Get a $5,000 California tax preparer surety bond
- Obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
- Submit an application to the California Tax Education Council (CTEC)
How long does it take to become a tax preparer?
Becoming a certified California tax preparer typically takes between 4-6 weeks, as applicants must provide a certificate of completion of their 60-hour qualifying education course. Receiving a PTIN may also take 4-6 weeks if the applicant applies with a paper application. However, a PTIN application may also be completed online in about 15 minutes.
Do all tax preparers have to register with CTEC?
Not all professionals providing tax preparation services in California are required to register with CTEC, however, tax preparers who meet any of the following criteria must be certified:
- Inactive CPA or a CPA who is not in California and prepares income tax returns
- Employees of a CTEC tax preparer who sign income tax returns
- Nonexempt tax preparer who takes client data regarding income tax and enters it electronically to prepare a return
- Nonexempt tax preparer who receives a fee for bundling services including the preparation of an income tax return
How to Renew CTEC Registration
CTEC registrations must be renewed annually for as long as the tax preparer wishes to continue charging a fee for tax preparation services in the state of California. To renew a CTEC registration, tax preparers must complete at least 20 hours of continuing education from a CTEC approved provider, renew their PTIN number with the IRS, maintain a current surety bond, and renew their registration. A $33 registration fee must also be paid by October 31. Fees paid after the 31st will be increased to $55.
Since many surety bonds for tax preparers are issued for multiple years, they only need to be renewed every 2, 3, or 4 years. No matter how many years your California tax preparer bond is in effect, your surety provider should contact you between 60 and 90 days prior to its expiration date, leaving you plenty of time to renew.