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California Tax Preparer Bond

$55.00 / 2-year term

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How much does a $5,000 California tax preparer bond cost?

A California tax preparer bond, sometimes called a CTEC bond, costs $55 for two years of coverage, $70 for three years of coverage, and $80 for four years of coverage and is issued instantly. No credit check is required, meaning all applicants are pre-approved at the same cost.

How to get a tax preparer bond online in California

To get a California tax preparer bond, select the term length you would like and provide your name and address to buy your bond securely online in minutes. Once your payment is received, your official bond documents will be sent to you electronically.

Bond Type Bond Amount Cost
$5,000 Tax Preparer Bond 2-year term $5,000 $55
$5,000 Tax Preparer Bond 3-year term $5,000 $70
$5,000 Tax Preparer Bond 4-year term $5,000 $80

Do I need a tax preparer bond?

The California Tax Education Council requires tax professionals to obtain $5,000 surety bonds to become a certified tax preparer.

By posting a California tax preparer surety bond, principals (tax preparers) pledge to conduct business in compliance with the provisions of Division 8, Chapter 14 of the Business and Professions Code. Specifically, these bonds protect any person from a principal’s misstatements, misrepresentations, dishonesty, fraud, deceit or any other unlawful acts or omissions.

Do all tax preparers have to register with CTEC?

Not all professionals providing tax preparatation services are required to register with CTEC, however, tax preparers who meet any of the following criteria must be certified:

  • Inactive CPA or a CPA who is not in California and prepares income tax returns
  • Employees of a CTEC tax preparer who sign income tax returns
  • Nonexempt tax preparer who takes client data regarding income tax and enters it electronically to prepare a return
  • Nonexempt tax preparer who receives a fee for bundling services including the preparation of an income tax return
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How long are California tax preparer bonds in effect?

California tax preparer bonds are in effect for two, three, or four years from the effective date, depending on which term you select. The surety can cancel the bond by giving written notice of cancellation to the principal at least 30 days prior to the effective cancellation date.

How to become a certified tax preparer in California

To become a certified tax preparer in California, applicants must register with the state and meet the following tax preparation requirements:

How to Renew Your CTEC Registration

CTEC registrations must be renewed annually for as long as the tax preparer wishes to continue charging a fee for tax preparation services. To renew a CTEC registration, tax preparers must complete at least 20 hours of continuing education from a CTEC approved provider, renew their PTIN number with the IRS, maintain a current surety bond, and renew their registration. A $33 registration fee must also be paid by October 31. Fees paid after the 31st will be increased to $55.

Since many surety bonds for tax preparers are issued for multiple years, they only need to be renewed every 2, 3, or 4 years. No matter how many years your bond is in effect, your surety provider should contact you between 60 and 90 days prior to its expiration date, leaving you plenty of time to renew.

Additional Resources

State of California California Tax Education Council (CTEC) Registered Tax Preparer

CTEC Bonding Requirements

Business and Professions Code Section 22250-22259