Monday, October 15, 2012

REVIEW: Federal Income Tax Course by National Tax Training School


My husband, Steve, is trying out this Federal Income Tax Course by National Tax Training School.


FROM THE WEBSITE:
 
Our Federal Income Tax Course is designed for persons with no previous experience in the tax field or those with some experience who wish to get a more thorough training in all pertinent phases of federal income tax preparation for individuals. Completing this course will train you to prepare tax returns for individuals and small businesses.

In addition to providing you with a solid foundational training in taxation, this course includes the essential material you must know to pass the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) exam.

The most complete, most up-to-date tax preparation course available!
This highly acclaimed tax course has taught thousands of people how to become successful tax professionals, specialists in preparing individual and small business tax returns.

Written in an easy, accessible style, this nationally-accredited course guides you through Federal Taxation by way of 20 easy-to-master lesson units, each requiring approximately eight hours of study. A serious student can finish the course and receive his or her certificate in as few as 8 weeks. And you'll be studying in the comfort and privacy of your own home or office. (If you need more time, the School allows you up to one year.)  A Complete Comprehensive Course! (not a simple "test prep" program)

Upon successful completion of our tax preparer course, you will have the knowledge and confidence to prepare Individual and small business tax returns for clients anywhere. You will find yourself able to start and operate your own tax practice, or accept a well-paid position in an accounting or tax preparation firm.

THIS COURSE BRINGS TAX PREPARATION TO LIFE!

Our regularly updated and revised text clearly explains tax laws and regulations, teaching you exactly how to apply tax law to all actual client situations. This is the only foundation on which you can build a successful tax practice.
  • OUTSTANDING TRAINING MATERIALS
    A clearly written, easily understandable step-by-step text that includes hundreds of practical examples, real life illustrations, and sample computations that bring tax preparation vividly to life.  In fact, the course materials, which are yours to keep, will serve you well throughout your career as a tax professional.

  • HOW TO PREPARE TAX RETURNS
    "Real Life" case studies give you an opportunity to test your skills in preparing actual tax returns for different taxpayers and small business enterprises. These are designed to familiarize you thoroughly with the various tax forms and schedules you will use as a tax preparer.

  • TAX PLANNING
    Specially formulated tax planning problems will give you "hands-on" practice in devising tax-saving strategies that help you develop your own tax planning expertise.

  • INSTRUCTION
    For the duration of the course and for up to four years (depending on which option you enrolled under) after your graduation, every student is assigned a skilled, experienced instructor, a practicing accountant who is current on all tax preparation procedures and knowledgeable about the day to day realities of operating a professional tax practice. This personal service is one of the cornerstones of the NTTS course's effectiveness and popularity.

  • EXAMINATION and GRADING
    A series of examinations - one after each master lesson unit - is designed to monitor your progress. Each examination is carefully reviewed, graded - and if need be - commented on by your instructor who will gladly give you any additional help you need.

  • POSTGRADUATE BENEFITS
    Once you graduate from the National Tax Training School, you will be given full access to our online, annual Tax Change Bulletins. This privilege will be in effect for up to four years after your graduation (depending on which option you enrolled under). During that same period you will also be able to contact your instructor with any questions that will arise as your tax practice grows, without additional cost!
Enrollment Fees:

OPTION 1 - Standard enrollment includes three 4 full years of post-graduate support

          A) Pay in full with enrollment: $795            

          B) 3 Payment Plan: Three payments of $275

               First payment due with enrollment; Second payment in 30 days; Third payment in 60 days.

               Total: $825

          C) 6 Payment Plan: Six payments of $140

               First payment due with enrollment; 5 Additional automatic monthly charges of $140.

               Total: $840

OPTION 2 - same course as option 1 - includes one 2 full years of post-graduate support           

          A) Pay in full with enrollment: $495           

          B) 3 Payment Plan: Three payments of $175

               First payment due with enrollment; Second payment in 30 days; Third payment in 60 days.

               Total: $525

Additional Shipping fees apply see enrollment form.

Cancellation and Refund Policy
You may cancel your enrollment within 15 days of your receipt of the course materials and receive a complete tuition refund.
 
OUR EXPERIENCE:

My husband, Steve, was the lucky candidate to sign up for this federal tax training course.  In his initial shipment upon registering, he received a welcome letter along with one very large binder containing lessons 1-20.  It was a lot of material, and some may find the volume a bit overwhelming.  This is the reason for split shipments.  Upon completion of lesson 17, the second shipment is triggered containing additional materials.  We received it early so we could review it during the review period.  The second shipment contained several books and materials:
  • Federal Tax Handbook 2012
  • Building, Marketing & Operating a Profitable Tax Business
  • ATX Solutions for Tax and Accounting Professionals (Tax Year 2011) Evaluation Version Software
  • Final Exam
  • Practical Case Studies Kit
  • Certificate Order Form
  • Guide to State Personal Income Taxes
  • IRS Tax Return Preparer’s Test Candidate Information Bulletin

Steve’s initial impression with the first two lessons was that the material was really dry, because it contained a large volume of terms and definitions.  But he said that once he got beyond that, he realized the practical application of the information and was able to begin dealing with scenarios.  The third lesson covered tax calculations, and this was when Steve felt the course began to get interesting.  In the fourth and fifth lessons, he covered inclusions and exclusions to gross income.  In the sixth lesson, he learned about gains and losses on the sale or exchange of real estate properties.  By this point, he could honestly say he had learned some things he didn’t know before and could see how it was all coming together.  Each lesson built upon the one before it.  This is as far as he got during the review period.  He said each lesson took approximately 2-3 hours of time investment, so he mainly worked on it during the weekends when he wasn’t working.
 
Each lesson is broken down into subsections that are both labeled and numbered to make it easier to reference specific material down the road.  Lots of examples and scenarios are provided to show the variations in the application of each topic.  Great detail is provided to ensure thorough understanding of the material.  Significant terms are bolded throughout the text to draw your attention to them. 
The layout of the material is broken down into lots of small chunks with bullet points, indented examples with completed calculations, and small paragraphs of information.  This format makes the material easy to read, follow, and reference later when necessary. 
 
Each lesson includes a self-scoring practice test.  This gives each question immediately followed by its answer and a reference to which sections of the lesson from which the information came.  The instructions tell you to use a sheet of paper to cover the answer until you come up with the answer yourself.  However, Steve found that a bit inconvenient and wished that the answers were contained on a separate page.  He felt it made you not work as hard to find the answer knowing that the answer was printed right there.  There is a total of 20 questions in each self-scoring practice test.  After completion of this, you move on to the written test, which you complete and mail in for grading.  Pre-addressed mailing envelopes are included, so you need only provide the postage.  The average turnaround time seemed to be within a week.  The graded test is returned to you by mail along with a printed answer key with explanations and calculations included.

The vendor informed us that they are in the process of creating an online version of the course.  It is currently in beta testing.  We were given an opportunity to try it out if we chose.  The manual is available in .pdf format.  Steve did take some of the tests online as opposed to mailing them in.  This allowed for immediate grading.  He strongly preferred using the hard copy of the manual for study and reference, but particularly enjoyed taking the tests online.  Initially, he took the written test and attempted to transfer his answers to the online test.  However, he didn’t realize that the questions were not listed in the same order online vs. the printed test!  As a result, he had to retake the test and was given an alternate version for his second attempt.  He did not make that mistake again once he realized what had happened!  Overall, he liked the combination of the printed study materials and the online tests, which provided immediate feedback and saved postage in the process. However, he said he would not like an all-online version of the course.  He felt the manual itself would be too difficult for him to maneuver in digital format because of the need to flip back and forth.


In summary, Steve said it was exactly what he expected a tax course to be.  It’s a lot of material to cover, but it was well-laid out and thoroughly discussed so it could be more easily digested.  He felt the layout was essential to being able to tackle the material in small chunks in manageable periods of time.  It made it as unintimidating as you could imagine a tax course could be.  Steve has no previous tax or accounting experience and hasn’t even prepared his own taxes in nearly two decades (that’s my job!), but he feels he will be well-prepared to take the certification exam upon completion of the course and subsequently be able to prepare not only his own taxes but those of others, as well. 

In difficult economic times, he feels good at having this course under his belt, as becoming a certified tax preparer could lead to potential income in the future should the need arise.  This makes the investment a good one to consider.  He would definitely recommend this course to anyone considering using tax preparation as a source of future income.

Take a look at what other Crew members had to say about this course by clicking the banner below.

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We received this course free of charge for review purposes, however all opinions are ours and reflect our family’s honest use of the product.