About the Tax Program

There is Nothing More Certain Than a Career in Tax Preparation

Your career in tax preparation starts today. Santa Monica College’s comprehensive small business tax practice department certificate program will prepare you for a rewarding career in tax preparation. Education and training can lead to you working as a tax preparer at a tax preparation office, becoming a California Registered Tax Preparer (CRTP), or operating and building your own tax practice.

Additionally, our program prepares you to become IRS Certified to participate in our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, where you will train extensively to interview individuals and prepare federal and state tax returns for the low-income population. The VITA program is a nationwide program recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. Understand tax laws and regulations, and gain real-world experience in this engaging program. Take the next step in your journey to creating a career that adds up to success.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the VITA program is cancelled indefinitely this tax season . Sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused you.

Learn more about Volunteer Income Tax Assistance 

Degrees and Certificates


16 credits

This program is intended for individuals to enter the tax profession and enable them to prepare tax returns for the general public. In addition, hands-on experience in the form of supervised tax preparation through an internship or SMC's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides real-world knowledge.

PDF FileComing Sooninformation for the Certificate of Achievement - Small Business Tax Practice

Become a California CTEC Registered Tax Preparer (CRTP)

It is easy to become CTEC approved tax professional with our Income Tax Preparation course. It’s easy! Enroll in Accounting 17 – Income Tax Preparation (CTEC Approved) and get everything you need to become a CRTP! Start your tax career now!

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Accounting 17 – Income Tax Preparation

This comprehensive course is intended for individuals to enter the tax profession and enable them to prepare individual tax returns for the public, including individual taxpayers who operate sole-proprietor businesses. At the completion of the course, students will be able to prepare most individual tax returns and Schedule C for small business returns. This tax course is a qualified course by the California Tax Education Council (CTEC) and fulfills the requirements to become a California Registered Tax Preparer (CRTP).

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  • Prepare most individual tax returns.
  • Perform a thorough interview with a taxpayer.
  • Determine a taxpayer's filing status and eligibility for exemptions.
  • Accurately report income and deductions for a taxpayer.
  • Determine a taxpayer's eligibility for credits and deductions.
  • Complete Schedules C-EZ, C and E.
  • Compute depreciation for assets and eligibility for Section 179.
  • Accurately calculate a taxpayer's refund or balance due.
  • Advise a taxpayer in tax planning strategies.
  • Become a California CTEC Registered Tax Preparer.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Prepare basic level individual Federal and California income tax returns.
  • Prepare business tax forms for sole proprietors, including Schedule C, D, E and Depreciation.
  • Perform tax research and answer tax questions.

Note: This course will help you participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at SMC (SMC VITA)

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Potential Career Options

 Job Title  Typical Education  Median Wage
Treasurers and Controllers Bachelor's Degree $137,441
Financial Managers, Branch or Department Bachelor's Degree $137,441
Accountants Bachelor's Degree $71,856
Auditors Bachelor's Degree $71,856
Budget Analysts Bachelor's Degree $90,293
Credit Analysts Bachelor's Degree $86,878
Financial Analysts Bachelor's Degree $90,438
Financial Examiners Bachelor's Degree $76,586
Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents High School Diploma or More $45,048
Tax Preparers High School Diploma or More $43,127
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks High School Diploma or More $44,060
Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks Bachelor's Degree $53,123
Brokerage Clerks Bachelor's Degree $46,987
Statistical Assistants Bachelor's Degree $46,987