Preparer Code of Conduct - CTEC (2024)

It is the policy of CTEC to be sure CTEC Registered Tax Preparers (CRTPs) are aware of the Tax Preparer Code of Conduct and Responsibilities.

Background:In 1996 the California Legislature passed the Tax Preparers Act, Business and Professions Code 22250-22259, which regulates tax preparers. Those sections of the statute pertaining to tax preparer ethics, professional conduct, conduct regarding bonding and penalties for breaking the law are listed below.

A tax preparer is defined as "a person who, for a fee, assists with or prepares tax returns for another person or who assumes final responsibility for completed work on a return on which preliminary work has been done by another person, or who holds himself or herself out as offering those services."

A tax return is defined as "a return, declaration, statement, refund claim, or other document required to be made or filed in connection with state or federal income taxes or state bank and corporation franchise taxes."

The statute exempts the following:

CTEC Registered Tax Preparers (CRTPs):

Mustregister as a tax preparer with the California Tax Education Council (CTEC).

Mustmaintain a $5,000 tax preparer bond issued by a surety company admitted to do business in California. A tax preparer shall provide to the surety company proof that he or she is at least 18 years of age before a bond can be issued.

Mustidentify to the surety company all preparers employed or associated with the tax preparer securing the bond. Must file an amendment to the bond within 30 days of any change in the information provided in the bond.

Mustnot conduct business without having a current surety bond in effect.

Mustcease doing business as a tax preparer upon cancellation or termination of bond until a new bond is obtained.

Mustfurnish evidence of a current bond upon the request of any state or federal agency or law enforcement agency.

Mustprior to rendering any tax preparation services, provide the customer, in writing, with the tax preparer's name, address, telephone number, evidence of compliance with the bonding requirement including the name of your bond company and the bond policy number and the address of the CTEC website,

Mustnot make fraudulent, untrue, or misleading statements or representations that are intended to induce a person to use their tax preparation services.

Mustnot obtain the signature of a customer on a tax return or authorizing document that contains blank spaces to be filled in after it has been signed.

Mustnot fail or refuse to give a customer,a copy of any document requiring the customer's signature, within a reasonable time after the customer signs.

Mustnot fail to maintain a copy of any tax return prepared for a customer for four years from the later of the due date of the return or the completion date of the return.

Mustnot engage in advertising practices that are fraudulent, untrue, or misleading, including assertions that the tax preparer bond in any way implies licensure or endorsem*nt of a tax preparer by the State of California.

Mustnot violate provisions of Section 17530.5 or 7216 of Title 26 of the United States Code prohibiting tax preparers from disclosing any information obtained in the business of preparing federal or state income tax returns unless (1) consented to, in writing, by the taxpayer in a separate document; (2) expressly authorized by law; (3) necessary for the preparation of the return; and, (4) pursuant to court order.

Mustnot fail to sign a customer's tax return when payment for services rendered has been made.

Mustnot fail to return, upon demand by or on behalf of a customer, records or other data provided to the tax preparer by the customer.

Mustnot give false or misleading bond information to a consumer or give false or misleading information to a surety company in obtaining their tax preparer bond.

Mustapply for their Certificate of Completion within 18 months after completing their 60 hours of qualifying education from an approved provider.

Mustcomplete, on an annual basis, not less then 20 hours of continuing education from an approved curriculum provider (10 hours federal tax law, 2 hours ethics, 3 hours federal tax update and 5 hours California).

According to California Business & Professions Code Section 22253.2, and California Revenue & Taxation Code Section 19167, when a person prepares a tax return, for a fee, without the appropriate lawful designation, the Franchise Tax Board, pursuant to an agreement with the California Tax Education Council, will do the following: (1) The amount of the penalty under the subdivision for the first failure to register is two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). This penalty shall be waived if proof of registration is provided to the Franchise Tax Board within 90 days from the date of notice of the penalty which is mailed to the tax preparer. (2) The amount of the penalty for a failure to register, other than the first failure to register, is five thousand dollars ($5,000).

Violators of other sections of the statute are guilty of a misdemeanor, which offense is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by both. If a CRTP fails to perform a duty specifically imposed upon him or her pursuant to this statute, any person may maintain an action for enforcement of those duties or to recover a civil penalty in the amount of $1,000, or for both enforcement and recovery.

The Superior Court, in and for the county in which any person acts as a tax preparer in violation of the provisions of this statute, may, upon a petition by any person, issue an injunction or other appropriate order restraining the conduct.

Preparer Code of Conduct - CTEC (2024)


What is the passing score for the CTEC exam? ›

This 60 credit hour course for new tax preparers includes 3 comprehensive exams covering California State Tax Law, Federal Tax Law, and Ethics. These exams are open book and can be taken multiple times as needed to attain a minimum passing grade of 70% or better.

Is the CTEC exam open book? ›

CTEC course number: 1057-CE-0001. IRS credit hours are defined by course number(s): 4T3EX-T-00040-23-S / 4T3EX-E-00038-23-S / 4T3EX-U-00039-23-S. Free Test Re-take. The final test is “open book” with multiple choice questions.

Is H&R Block CTEC approved? ›

H&R Block has been approved by the California Tax Education Council to offer The H&R Block Income Tax Course, CTEC# 1040-QE-2773, which fulfills the 60-hour “qualifying education” requirement imposed by the State of California to become a tax preparer.

Is CTEC a state regulated tax return preparer? ›

CTEC is a California non-profit Corporation that registers tax preparers, the second largest segment of tax preparation professionals serving California, following certified public accountants.

How many questions are on the CTEC exam? ›

How many questions are on the test? The 20 hour CTEC & IRS course includes 100 mandatory Exam questions.

What is CTEC certified? ›

California law requires anyone who, for a fee or for other consideration, assists with or prepares tax returns for another person or who assumes final responsibility for completed work on a return and is not an exempt preparer to register as a tax preparer with the California Tax Education Council (CTEC).

How much do tax preparers make in California? ›

As of Apr 23, 2024, the average hourly pay for a Tax Preparers in California is $16.87 an hour.

How much is the registration fee for CTEC? ›


Some CRTPs continue to log into their account, however, instead of following the renewal steps, they “reprint” their CTEC certificate for $10 and think they registered. Renewals can only be completed by following the above steps and paying the $33 registration fee!

Can I renew my PTIN now for 2024? ›

Preparer tax identification number (PTIN) applications and renewals for 2024 are now being processed. Anyone who prepares or assists in preparing federal tax returns for compensation must have a valid 2024 PTIN before preparing returns. All enrolled agents must also have a valid PTIN.

Do you have to pay for CTEC? ›

You will be required to pay a $100 nonrefundable application fee plus a $2 processing fee in order to submit a new application. Registration Fee with CTEC is $33 plus a $2 processing fee.

Which course is best for income tax? ›

Popular Taxation Courses -UG & PG
Undergraduate Taxation CoursesPostgraduate Taxation Courses
B.Com. in Finance and TaxationAdvanced Diploma in Corporate Taxation
B.Com. in TaxationM.A. in International Taxation
Advance Diploma in Tax Consultancy ManagementPost Graduate Diploma in Tax Management
2 more rows
Apr 12, 2024

Do tax preparers use TurboTax? ›

TurboTax is only licensed for personal use, and it is not compliant with IRS regulations for paid preparers. Intuit offers ProSeries, ProConnect, and Lacerte Tax software, which are IRS-compliant for tax professionals who are filing multiple returns.

Does the IRS audit tax preparers? ›

If a tax preparer regularly files returns for clients claiming repeated losses, this can trigger an audit or investigation into the tax preparer's practices.

How to get a CTEC number? ›

How to become a New Tax Preparer in California
  1. Complete your 60 credit hour CTEC Qualifying Education Course.
  2. Visit & Complete the "Application for New Tax Preparers" to Get your CTEC ID Number.
  3. Complete Live Scan Fingerprint Process.
  4. Obtain or Renew Your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) with the IRS.

What is the full form of CTEC? ›

The Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centre (Microsoft CTEC) channel provides training for computer professions in the use of Microsoft products. The term Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centre was introduced by Microsoft in early 1990s.

Is California tax course legit? ›

California Tax Courses is Approved by the California Tax Education Council (CTEC) to offer Qualifying Education.

What if I do not renew my CTEC license by October 31st? ›

Your status will be changed to expired until you complete the required education and complete the renewal application. You will also need to pay a $88.00 fee, ($33.00 registration fee and $55.00 late fee plus a $2 processing fee). Your status will remain expired until your application is processed by CTEC.

How to become an EA in California? ›

To get started, you must:
  1. Obtain a Personal Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
  2. Apply to take the SEE.
  3. Achieve passing scores on all three parts which cover every aspect of tax code.
  4. Apply for enrollment on Form 23.
  5. Undergo a background check prior to enrollment, which includes a review of your tax transcript.

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