California Tax Preparer Continuing Education

We are an approved Continuing Education Provider for California Tax Preparers. Our CTEC approval number is 6258. You can find us on the Approved Education Providers page as @ 1st Attempt.

We will report your CE credits to CTEC and you will be able to print out your certificate upon completion.

Continuing Education Requirements for CA Tax Preparers

As a registered tax preparer in the state of California, you're subject to the rules and regulations laid out by the California Tax Education Council (CTEC). And that means you need to take the required California 60-hour tax course to get registered with CTEC and you need to take CTEC continuing education courses to renew your registration each year. 

That might leave you with questions. How do you find a California tax preparer course CTEC has approved? What are the CE requirements for tax preparers in terms of hours? 

That's why we built this guide. It's a resource you can use to learn about the California-approved tax continuing education training you need to maintain your registration. 

CTEC renewal requirements

Every year, CTEC requires you to take at least 20 California tax preparer course hours. This CTEC continuing education (CE) needs to be taken from an approved education provider. 15 of the hours need to cover the federal tax curriculum, with the remaining five hours focusing on the California tax curriculum. 

Fortunately, you have options to meet these CE requirements for tax preparers. You can take your California tax preparer course hours in person, or you can complete them online. Choosing online California tax preparer continuing education gives you the flexibility to knock out your hours whenever your schedule allows.

That's not the only tax preparer renewal requirement that affects you, though. In total, the things you need to do to renew your registration each year are:

  • Complete 20 CTEC license renewal course hours (15 federal, 5 state)
  • Renew your preparer tax identification number (PTIN) with the IRS
  • Maintain the $5,000 bond you secured to get your registration
  • Renew your registration with CTEC
  • Pay the required renewal fee (it's $33 before October 31, $88 [including a $55 delinquent fee] after that date)

If you don't do these things by January 18 of the upcoming year, CTEC dissolves your registration. You'll be seen as a new tax preparer moving forward, which means taking the California 60-hour tax course again.

Is there a penalty for not registering with CTEC as a tax preparer?

Yes. If you're a non-exempt tax preparer and you don't register with CTEC before preparing taxes for a fee, they can assess a penalty of $2,500. If you get caught again, the penalty hikes up to $5,000.

What is a $5,000 California tax preparer bond?

Because you can take your 20 California tax preparer course hours online each year and submit your renewal online, too, the process is fairly streamlined. That might leave you with one question: what about the required bond?

Basically, this bond - called a surety bond - serves as protection for your clients. If you fail to properly serve a client, they can make a claim on your bond. If the surety company that issued your bond finds the claim valid, a portion or all of your bond can go to satisfy that claim. 

Don't worry. You won't have to pay $5,000 to get this bond. The premium on your bond should range between 1-15%, meaning you should be able to get this bond for anywhere from $50 to $750. 

Complete your 20 hours of California tax preparer continuing education, maintain your bond, renew your PTIN, and submit your renewal on time and you shouldn't have any problems maintaining your tax preparer registration.