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Tax Preparation Bond

Tax Preparation Bond


California Tax Education Council (CTEC) Registered Tax Preparers


California law requires anyone who prepares tax returns for a fee and is not an exempt preparer to register as a tax preparer with the California Tax Education Council (CTEC). Exempt preparers are California certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents (EAs), attorneys who are members of the State Bar of California, and certain specified banking or trust officials.

See the table below for more information.

Requirements to become a CTEC registered tax preparer (CRTP):

  • Take a 60-hour qualifying education course from a CTEC approved provider within the past 18 months.
  • Purchase a $5,000 tax preparer bond from an insurance/surety agent.
  • Obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Register and submit the $33 registration fee online.

The individual tax preparer is responsible for completing the registration requirement whether or not the employer provided or paid for a surety bond and CTEC registration. The unregistered tax preparer is personally liable for any penalties, not the employer.

You must renew your registration with CTEC annually to legally prepare income tax returns. Go to for complete information and requirements.


To annually renew CTEC registration, a tax preparer must:

  • Take a minimum of 20 hours continuing education from a CTEC approved provider, which must include 15 hours of federal tax curriculum (which includes 2 hours of ethics) and 5 hours of California tax curriculum.
  • Renew the PTIN number with the IRS each year.
  • Maintain a $5,000 tax preparer bond.
  • Renew your registration and submit the $33 annual registration fee before October 31 of each year online. ($55 fee if after October 31)

If you fail to renew your CTEC registration by January 15 of the following year, we consider you a new tax preparer and subject to the new preparer registration requirements. For additional information, go to