How to prepare for the Basic IRS Certification Exam (to be given on the first day of class)
1) The IRS has a great set of on-line tutorials that present the key tax information you need to prepare basic-level tax returns. That tutorial is full of problems similar to those you will encounter the exam (and similar to those you will encounter with live taxpayers.) Work through it!
I have listed the tutorials with links at right, and I have put stars to show the most important topics. --------------------------------------------------------------------->>>
2) The exam is open book and open note. It is a good idea to mark up your Pub 4012 book with annotations to clarify the most important and trickiest parts, which you will frequently need to refer to on the exam (as well as with real taxpayers.)
I have posted PDFs of my own annotated pages from the most important pages of the 4012, and I suggest you copy my annotations into your copy. Those key sections are listed below. Please email me with questions or requests for clarification if anything is unclear.
4) Most useful resource is Pub 4012 Tab C on Qualifying Child/Qualifying Relative rules Make sure you read my annotated copy of Pub 4012 Tab C and copy those annotations into your copy.
5) Second most useful resource is Pub 4012 Tab B on Filing Status rules. Make sure you read my annotated copy of Pub 4012 Tab B and copy those annotations into your copy
6) After you've done #1 and #2 above, be sure to read my "No King Solomon" rule post in my Bed Buffalo blog. (This is the topic that has given students the most trouble in past years.) Also, read my post about how the IRS does not use English the same way normal people do!
7) Third most useful resource is Pub 4012 Page D-1 on the types of income that are subject to income tax and the types of income that are NOT subject to income tax. Make sure you read my annotated copy of Pub 4012 Tab D and copy my page D-1 annotations into your copy
8) After you have worked through the tutorial. Do the 5 Basic practice tax returns in your 4491W workbook using the 2013 TaxWise software when it becomes available in December. UPDATE: The 2013 TaxWise software is now available. I will post an answer key.
9) Ask me or other students questions face-to-face, or email me your questions. Here are some good warmup practice questions to think about. Here are some that are a bit harder. I will post more in my blog.
TaxWise Training Version for practice clients! (Use this link only for PRACTICE returns)
Basic Link & Learn Tutorial Topics
(rated * to *** based on importance/frequency with which they arise)