Oregon Tax Preparer Licensing Laws
Oregon Tax Preparer Education
Pacific Northwest Tax School is approved by the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners as a sponsor of basic and continuing education courses for Oregon tax preparers and consultants.
- Our Basic Tax Course (Federal & Oregon Law) exceeds minimum standards set forth by the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners, with students achieving an overall average pass rate of 85% in the 2014 exam cycle, compared to a state-wide average of just 50%. Click here to see exam pass-rates by school as published by the Oregon Tax Board.
- For Oregon LTPs who are preparing for Oregon’s rigorous LTC exam, our 1040 LTC Prep Series offers the most comprehensive preparation program available and includes more than 100 hours of CE.
- For Enrolled Agents who are preparing for the Oregon-only portion of the LTC exam, our Welcome to Oregon series offers comprehensive educational content and test preparation materials.
Oregon Licensing Laws
Oregon imposes strict licensing laws on all paid tax preparers. The purpose of these licensing laws is to protect the public from incompetent and unethical tax preparers.
Currently, Oregon is the only state in America where a person must be licensed to prepare tax returns as a paid professional. Additionally, Oregon is the only state which requires tax preparers to successfully pass state-administered examinations.
The Licensed Tax Preparer (LTP)
LTP is an apprenticeship license that enables a person to lawfully prepare personal income tax returns in Oregon under the supervision of a Tax Consultant.
The Licensed Tax Consultant (LTC)
LTC is a higher-level license obtained by an individual who passes additional State testing requirements and demonstrates experience to the point that a licensee may prepare taxes as a self-employed, independent or supervising tax practitioner. A business registration is required for offices preparing personal income tax returns, however a business registration does not cover the individual actually performing the work (the practitioner). All income tax preparation businesses must be registered and must have a licensed consultant providing services and/or supervising licensed preparers.
Becoming a Licensed Tax Preparer
To become licensed as a tax preparer, an individual is required to successfully complete an approved 80-Hour Course in Basic Income Tax Law. Upon successful completion of an approved course, the student is eligible to sit the Oregon Exam for Tax Preparers. To successfully pass the LTP test, individuals must achieve a score of 75% or higher on the five-hour exam administered by the Oregon State Board Board of Tax Practitioners (Commonly referred to as the Oregon Tax Board).
A Licensed Tax Preparer is licensed to prepare tax returns at an apprenticeship level. All LTPs must work under the supervision of a Licensed Tax Consultant.
Becoming a Licensed Tax Consultant
A Licensed Tax Consultant is an individual who has successfully passed the Oregon Tax Board’s LTC Exam and who has demonstrated he or she has achieved a minimum of 1100 hours of experience working in the field of tax preparation over a two-to-five-year period. Generally, an individual eligible to sit the LTC exam has already been practicing as an LTP, however, there are certain exceptions to this rule:
- An individual authorized to practice before the IRS as an Enrolled Agent is exempt from the time and education requirements, however, an Enrolled Agent wishing to practice as an LTC in Oregon must successfully complete the Oregon-only portion of the LTC Exam.
- An individual who has worked under the supervision of a CPA or who has worked as a tax preparer in another state and can show they meet the time requirements may be permitted to sit the Oregon Tax Board’s LTC Exam upon successful completion of a Board-approved 80-Hour course in basic tax law.
Licensing of Tax Preparation Businesses
Tax preparation businesses that charge fees for the preparation of tax returns must be Licensed by the Oregon Tax Board unless otherwise exempt from this requirement. Tax preparation businesses operating in the State of Oregon and regulated by the Tax Board must adhere to regulations governing their operations. These regulations are posted on the Tax Board website.
Oregon Administrative Rules governing tax preparation businesses and tax return preparers.
Do I Need to be Licensed?
The State of Oregon sets competency and ethical standards for tax professionals and regulates them through the Board of Tax Practitioners. The purpose of the law is to protect the consumer from unlicensed or unethical practitioners.
Any person preparing personal income tax returns for a fee or representing that they do so must be licensed by the Oregon State Board of Tax Practitioners. The only people exempt from this law are Certified Public Accountants and Public Accountants licensed by the Oregon Board of Accountancy and members of the Oregon State Bar who prepare returns for their law clients. Please refer to the Oregon Board of Accountancy website at http://www.oregon.gov/BOA/ or the Oregon State Bar website at http://www.osbar.org/ for information concerning their licensing requirements.
Oregon’s law applies only to those within the Oregon border EXCEPT when a person preparing the returns out-of-state is actively soliciting Oregon clients through activities such as having an agent in Oregon, having a “drop-off location” in Oregon, or by advertising in Oregon-based publications — including Oregon area phone books. A person who is preparing the occasional Oregon return for clients who walk into their out-of-state office is neither in Oregon preparing the return, nor are they soliciting Oregon clients & are EXEMPT from needing an Oregon license. Enrolled Agents must hold a consultant license with the Board of Tax Practitioners if they are preparing, assisting or advising in the preparation of individual income tax returns. No license is required if the Enrolled Agent is merely representing the taxpayer before the IRS.
Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners
The Board of Tax Practitioners protects Oregon consumers by ensuring Oregon tax practitioners are competent and ethical in their professional activities.
Tax Board Facts
The Oregon State Board of Tax Practitioners was created by the 1973 Legislative Assembly for the purpose of protecting the consumer by ensuring that Oregon tax professionals are competent and ethical in their professional activities. All persons in Oregon who prepare, advise or assist in the preparation of personal income tax returns for a fee, or represent that they do so, must be licensed.
The Board consists of seven members. Six Board members are Licensed Tax Consultants with at least five years tax preparation experience. One member comes from the general public and is not associated with the profession. All members are appointed by the Governor for three-year terms and confirmed by the Senate. The Board hires staff to administer all official business. The Board meets approximately five times per year, usually in Salem, with one meeting held in another location throughout the State. Decisions are made in open public meetings where guests are encouraged to attend.
The Board carries out its mission through four programs:
- Examination and Education
- Compliance Enforcement/Consumer Awareness
The Licensing Program provides licenses to those people who have demonstrated their competence and ethical standards established by the Board.
The Examination and Education Program develops and administers competency examinations to new applicants to ensure their comprehension of the state and federal tax code prior to issuing them a license. An applicant must answer 75% of the questions correctly to become licensed. The program also monitors the continuing education requirements by reviewing and approving courses that will enhance the licensee’s knowledge of the tax law. Each applicant is required to complete an 80-hour basic course, covering state and federal tax laws. Licensees are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours continuing education as a prerequisite to renewing their license each year.
The Compliance Enforcement Program researches all complaints and possible violations of the laws and rules governing tax preparation. Many complaints proceed to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. After careful consideration of the facts surrounding a complaint, civil penalties may be assessed and a person’s license may be suspended or revoked. The Board may also require restitution to consumers harmed by tax preparation fraud. In serious cases, the Board may work with other agencies to assess criminal charges.
LTP & LTC Exam Information
LTP and LTC Exams are Administered by the Oregon Tax Board
Individuals who are eligible to sit for the LTP or LTC exams may take the exams at a test site specified by the Tax Board. The Tax Board administers one exam for Tax Preparers and LTCs each year. However many community colleges in the State of Oregon are authorized to proctor these exams.
Go to the Oregon Tax Board’s Web Page for specific instructions on applying for a license.