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Turning taxes into retirement income

If you have mathematical ability and computer skills, you can become a tax preparer and work seasonally for the large tax companies, such as H&R Block.

(Since I originally wrote this page, the big tax preparation companies have started their free tax prep service and now need fewer people in their offices. On the other hand, the new tax law may open up new opportunities.)

The national tax preparation companies will train you with the classes they offer every year, usually during the Fall and Winter.  They charge for Tax School, but if you complete their classes successfully you may be able to go to work for them to get some one-the-job training. 

We know a chemical engineer approaching retirement who wanted more income, so he took the classes and worked for one of the large tax preparation companies for a couple of tax seasons. Because he was still employed full time at his engineering job, he worked evenings and weekends for the tax preparation company. 

The following year he launched his own part time business by preparing federal tax returns for friends, family and neighbors.  In the past few years the major tax prep companies have begun to offer free tax preparation services which has cut into his business.

Taxes and the small business bookkeeper  

Our engineering friend's tax work consists of preparing individual's federal and state income tax forms.  Small businesses also have to pay taxes and people with a background in business bookkeeping or accounting can set up their own independent company to service neighborhood businesses for both taxes and year 'round accounting.  

If you have this type of experience, you will know which professional accounting program to use. Then order some business cards, make some phone calls and regularly go to Chamber of Commerce meetings to meet potential new clients.  While this work is clearly not seasonal, you can take on as many--or as few-- clients as you want while still giving yourself free time.  

Poodle Spring signed by Robert Parker

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