Preparing for the IRS Competency Test

There has been quite a bit of discussion within the CTEC and the IRS Tax Preparer community about how to prepare for the IRS competency test. The competency test includes 120 questions and covers the 1040 and ethics. The length of the test is 2.5 hours and costs $116. One of our product specialists took the test last month and thought it was very straightforward and relatively easy to pass. It is a open-book test, with the PUB 17 and the 1040 instructions provided at the testing center. Our recommendation at this point, is to take your annual CPE tax update course first, than schedule an appointment to take the test. If you feel you need additional preparation, the outline of the test sections are provided by the IRS below, although our feedback so far is that, if you are a practicing tax preparer, you will not need additional preparation.

To assist in test preparation, the following is a list of recommended IRS study materials. This list is not all-encompassing, but a highlight of what the test candidates will need to know. IRS encourages preparers to go green and download electronic copies of the reference materials for study purposes. Simply click on the resource you need. Once it is open, select File: Save As to save it to your computer.

You have until 2013 to complete the competency test (you can’t renew your PTIN in 2013 without passing). In order to take the test, you must have a PTIN. You can schedule your test directly from your online PTIN account.

Scheduling your Competency Test:

In order to take the test, you must have a PTIN. You can schedule your test directly from your online PTIN account.

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