Accredited Tax Preparper (ATP)

The Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP) covers two essential domains critical to tax professionals: Personal Income Taxation and Ethics and Procedures. In the Personal Income Taxation domain, learners will delve into a comprehensive understanding of taxable entities, income reporting, adjustments, deductions, tax credits, and additional taxes. This domain equips candidates with the ability to navigate the complexities of determining taxable income and tax liability accurately. The Ethics and Procedures domain focuses on ethical guidelines and best practices for tax professionals, ensuring candidates are well-versed in their responsibilities and conduct within the taxation profession.


The ATP examination is a 100 multiple-choice question exam that tests proficiency in preparing individual tax returns, comprehensive 1040 issues, and ethics. The questions on the ATP exam are developed as the result of a Job Task Analysis that studies what tax preparers do, how often they perform each task and how important they perceive the task to be.

Candidates are given three (3) hours to complete each 100-question, multiple-choice exam. For a more detailed look at the individual topics covered, please see the ATP Exam Blueprint.

Candidates cannot earn certification without passing the certification examination. For the ATP, a passing grade is 70. Candidates will receive a letter from ACAT notifying them of their official and final test pass/fail results.



ACAT partners with the National Society of Accountants (NSA) to provide study materials for the ATP exam. The ATP Prep Course is sold in book, and/or PDF format. Written by leading CPAs, EAs, tax law, and ethics experts and published by the NSA, this online course covers 1040 individual taxation and ethics. Each chapter includes reference materials and review questions with answers and explanations.

For more information on all exam preparation materials available for you during your study process, please visit our Exam Preparation page.


To hold the ATP candidates must be at least 18 years of age. There are no other educational or experience requirements to take the ATP exam and/or to hold the ATP credential.


Annual Filing Season Program Record (AFSP)
ATP credential holders qualify for the IRS’s Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion without taking the Annual Refresh Course and Annual Exam. Learn more about the AFSP Exemption


Individuals holding the Accredited Tax Preparer® ATP credential must earn 24 hours of CPE during each year cycle with at least 22 hours in taxation or related subjects (accounting, finance, technology, business law) or subjects that relate to your particular area of practice or employment; plus 2 hours in ethics.

CPE requirements are prorated for those who earn an ACAT credential after the start of a reporting cycle. For additional information, visit our CPE requirements page.

For a more detailed overview of all requirements needed to maintain your credential, please visit the page for Current Credential Holders.