California Tax Education Council

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Registering as a new tax preparer? What you need to know...

Monday, November 2, 2020 - 34 comments

Registration for new applicants starts November 1, 2020. As of July, new registrants must also pass a background check before their application can be approved. 

California Business & Professions Code Section 22251.3 was amended to require new applicants who would like to become a CTEC Registered Tax Preparer (CRTP) to pass a criminal background check and submit fingerprint images to CTEC to determine an individual’s eligibility to register.  

This means new registrants must complete the following before their application will be considered:

The new requirements are NOT applicable to current CRTPs, only new applicants who register on or after July 1, 2020.  

However, CRTPs who allow their CTEC registration to expire and would like to reregister with CTEC on or after July 1, 2020, will not only be required to retake the 60 hour QE course, they will also be required to go through a background check and resubmit fingerprint images to CTEC.

Already completed the requirements? Click here to register >>


Comments commented on Friday, February 9, 2024

Hello- Does a felony conviction 9 years ago preclude one from becoming a tax preparer. Not theft/fraud/money related, violent or sexual.

CTEC replied on Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Registration is dependent upon the results of the background check. In some cases, the results will be forwarded to legal for final review. Please call CTEC at 877.850.2832 for additional questions.

Jackie commented on Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Hello, what course year do I need to complete in order to qualify being registered for the 2023/2024 cycle? I am currently enrolled in 2022 CTEC 60 hour QE (which I have not yet completed). Do I need to purchase a new course (one thats in 2023) in order to qualify for registration and be able to prepare taxes in 2024?

CTEC replied on Friday, October 27, 2023

Please call the CTEC office 877-850-2832 to go over your account status.

Jackie commented on Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Hello, I submitted my CTEC application on 12/28/2022 (cant remember if I had to pay the $33 fee). My application has been approved but I have not completed the required education yet. Will my registration date be the day I submitted my application or the day they receive my QE? How do i know which cycle I'd be registered for? Im not sure if I should start a new application for 2023/2024. I've tried but I get told I have an application in progress already. What course of action should I take if I plan on finishing my course by December 2023? Or if I finish my course by February 2024?

CTEC replied on Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Hi Jackie, At this point, you need to complete your QE course from an approved CTEC provider. You'll also need to obtain a PTIN from the IRS and purchase a $5,000 tax preparer surety bond. You can usually get one from your insurance provider. Once those requirements are complete, you can register with CTEC and pay the $33 registration fee. Registration for new preparers starts November 1st of each year. Whether you complete the education this year or next, if you register on or after November 1, 2023, you'll be registered for the 2023/2024 cycle. Keep in mind, you have 18 months from the date you completed the QE course to register as a new preparer.

Maria commented on Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Hi, I'm taking a tax preparation course with a college, and they will transfer my 'Required Education Course' to CTEC once I pass. I'm not planning to immediately register after I pass, I want to wait. My question is, how long can I wait until registering with CTEC so that the 60 hours of education completed don't expire? Is a year lot of time?

CTEC replied on Monday, April 17, 2023

Registration for new applicants begins November 1st of year. You have 18 months from the date you completed the QE course to register with CTEC.

Steve commented on Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Hi, I was told by a potential employer that I need to go through the CTEC registration process but was told by one of your staff that I don’t (I’m a current, CA-licensed CPA. Can you help, do I or don’t I need to do this process? Thanks so much!

CTEC replied on Wednesday, January 26, 2022

If you're a current California CPA, then you are exempt from registering with CTEC.

Apprehensive Applicant commented on Sunday, August 22, 2021

I am a federally convicted marijuana offender. The conviction occurred more than 10 years ago. Is there any sort of administrative appellate process for a potential applicant such as myself? (That is, one that will have a criminal record on their background check). Or, am I completely statutorily barred from being a CTEC registered tax preparer? Thank you.

CTEC replied on Monday, August 23, 2021

Yes, we have an administrative process that reviews each potential applicant and their background check.

Pawan Paul commented on Monday, July 26, 2021

In my case CTEC webpage says ‘Required Education Course’ ( Not Reported by Provider). I checked from my course provider. they say we have issued you I tax preparer course pass certificate so no further action is required from their side. Can pl guide how to meet the observation of CTEC under this circumstance. My CTEC Regn is pending only on this account. Thanks

CTEC replied on Tuesday, July 27, 2021

It is our understanding you were able to reach out to CTEC staff regarding this issue and that the 60 hours of education completed has expired. Keep in mind, once you retake the 60 hour course, do not register with CTEC until November 1st. That's the start of the new registration cycle. Should you register before November 1st, you will be required to take another 20 hours of continuing education by October 31st.

cind commented on Friday, March 26, 2021

Does CTEC ever respond to this blogs question ?

CTEC replied on Friday, July 23, 2021

Our sincere apologies, our blog comment alerts went down. Please see below answers.

How long commented on Friday, March 26, 2021

Hello, how long does it take for background check to be approved by CTEC after it is received from DOJ?

CTEC replied on Friday, July 23, 2021

Depending on the circumstance, it can take weeks.

Concerned commented on Friday, March 5, 2021

Tax preparer completed ALL requirements except paying $33 registration fee. How is it possible they have to start over due to a small fee, especially during a pandemic?

CTEC replied on Friday, July 23, 2021

Registrations cannot be completed or accepted until the fee is paid.

217007455 commented on Friday, February 26, 2021


Concerned2 commented on Thursday, February 18, 2021

Tax preparer completed all requirements by October 1, 2020 except for paying the registration fee. Information for the CEs were submitted on October 1, 2020 to CTEC. CTEC online payment was down on several occasions. Does the tax preparer need to start over as a new preparer?

CTEC replied on Friday, July 23, 2021

As long as the preparer registers by the late renewal deadline of January 15th the following year (i.e. January 15, 2021) and pays the late fee, they do not need to start over.

Concerned commented on Wednesday, February 10, 2021

What recourse do we have concerning a tax preparer that has ignored his duty year after year, we realized this after some time, then asks for POA to clean up his mess and then says that the IRS won't talk to him they want to speak with the POA. This guy ignored his client after many calls to speak and meet and handle the situation. This preparer is the only person that knows what he did or didn't do. He has put off this elderly client always extending her because, in my opinion, he felt he could neglect her because she is elderly. What recourse do we have to make him do his due diligence and clean up his mess?

CTEC replied on Friday, July 23, 2021

A complaint can be filed here -

Jessica commented on Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Can a Tax Preparer obt out of having his/her address and phone number open to the public? How do can we keep our personal address and phone number private from the public?

CTEC replied on Friday, July 23, 2021

This is public information.

Marty commented on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

What is deadline with penalty fee after Oct. 31, 2020

CTEC replied on Friday, July 23, 2021

The late fee is $55.

Marybel commented on Wednesday, December 9, 2020

By when does CTEC need to received the qualifying education requirement?

CTEC replied on Friday, July 23, 2021

We don't have a deadline necessarily. If you'd like to register as a new preparer, the registration cycle starts November 1st of each year and ends October 31st the following year.

carlos commented on Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Is ITIN # Ok to register?

CTEC replied on Friday, July 23, 2021

No, only social security numbers are accepted.