Basic Tax Course

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Federal Law

Basic Tax Course Federal Tax Law

Our Basic Tax Course (Federal Law) is designed to provide students with the education and testing skills needed to pass federal and state examinations. It is suitable for beginner students who want to enter the tax preparation industry for the first time while offering more experienced tax professionals the opportunity to expand and build upon their existing knowledge base.

Qualified and knowledgeable tax preparers are hard to find.   Tax preparers must achieve a level of knowledge necessary to pass federal or state exams, but more importantly they must be able to apply tax knowledge to the preparation of tax returns. 

While most tax education programs offer little more than theoretical coverage of tax law, our Basic Tax Course provides in-depth education that extends beyond theory and into the mechanics of tax form preparation.   Students are taught tax law, how to read tax reporting documents and how to complete tax forms. 

The course provides 100 hours of education delivered through a carefully designed online learning management system.  Course content includes 59 hours of lecture video, detailed student manuals, comprehensive tax return assignments and quizzes, and answer keys with references and explanations.  Recommended completion time is 12 weeks.

The scope and interactivity level of our Basic Tax Course is unique. While other tax schools deliver only textbooks and tests, our education programs utilize multiple educational tools to keep students engaged in the learning process. Every session includes the following lesson materials:

  • A Student Manual which uses easy-to-understand language and working illustrations
  • Classwork assignments which apply concepts covered in each session to preparation of tax forms
  • A quiz to review student understanding and knowledge of concepts covered in each session
  • A homework assignment involving preparation of a tax return based on topics covered in each session
  • A Q&A Forum to post questions and receive answers from course instructors

Topics Covered

  • Session 0
    • Introduction to the Basic Tax Course
  • Session 1
    • Filing Requirements
    • Filing Status
    • Extensions
    • The Standard Deduction
  • Session 2
    • Personal Exemptions & Dependents
  • Session 3
    • Wages, Tips & Taxable Fringe Benefits
    • Interest & Dividend Income
  • Session 4
    • FBAR & FATCA Reporting Requirements
    • Taxable Refunds
    • Alimony
    • Unemployment Compensation
    • Gambling Winnings
    • Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
  • Session 5
    • Retirement Plans
    • Pensions
    • Annuities
  • Session 6
    • Social Security Income
    • Railroad Retirement Benefits
  • Session 7
    • Educator Expenses
    • Business Expenses of Reservists, Performing Artists, & Fee-Basis Government Officials
    • Health Savings Account
    • Moving Expenses
    • Deductible Part of Self-Employment Tax
    • Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction
    • Penalty on Early Withdrawal of Savings
    • Alimony
    • IRA Deduction
    • Student Loan Interest Deduction
    • Tuition & Fees Deduction
  • Session 8
    • Medical Expenses
    • Deductible Taxes
    • Interpreting Real Estate Purchase HUD Statements
    • Preparation of Schedule A & Sales Tax Deduction Worksheet
  • Session 9
    • Deductible Interest Expense
    • Charitable Contributions
    • Interpreting Form 1098 and HUD statements
    • Preparation of Schedule A and Forms 4952 & 8283
  • Session 10
    • Unreimbursed Employee Expenses
    • Accountable vs. Nonaccountable Plans
    • Preparation of Form 2106
  • Session 11
    • Nonbusiness Casualty & Theft Losses
    • Other Miscellaneous Deductions
    • Alternative Minimum Tax
    • Preparation of Form 4684
  • Session 12
    • Foreign Tax
    • Education
    • Retirement Savings
    • Energy
    • Prior Year Minimum Tax
    • Excess Social Security Withholdings
    • Mortgage Interest
    • First Time Homebuyer
    • Preparation of Forms 8863, 8880, 5695 & 8936
  • Session 13
    • Child & Dependent Care
    • EIC
    • Child Tax Credit
    • Adoption Credit
    • Preparation of Forms 2441, EIC, 8862, 8812 & 8839
  • Session 14
    • How to determine cost basis in purchased, gifted and inherited property
    • Determining basis in incentive stock options, ESPPs and RSUs including how to interpreting Forms 3922, Advice of Sale Statements & W-2s
    • Use of Internet to Help Determine Basis of Certain Stock
  • Session 15
    • Identifying tangible and intangible property
    • MACRS and ADS Methods
    • Conventions
    • Recovery Periods
    • Section 179 Deduction
    • Bonus Depreciation
    • Limits on Automobiles
    • Listed Property
  • Session 16
    • Inclusion Amounts
    • Classification of Property
    • Start-Up & Organizational Costs
    • Preparation of Depreciation Schedules and Form 4562
  • Session 17
    • Determining Holding Period
    • Determining Recapture Amounts
    • Figuring Gain or Loss
    • Publicly Traded Partnerships
    • Interpreting Form 1099 B Brokerage Statements
    • Preparation of Schedule D and Forms 4797, 8949, 8938, TD F 90-22.1, 8594, Unrecaptured Section 1250 Gain Worksheet & Capital Gain Worksheet
  • Session 18
    • Selling Your Home
    • Recapture of Depreciation
    • Installment Sale Income
    • Like Kind Exchanges
    • Preparation of Forms 5405, 6252, 4797, Schedule D, & 8824
  • Session 19
    • Determining Rental and Personal Use
    • Form 4835 (Farm Rental Income)
    • Material Participation Rules and Figuring Allowable Loss Under Passive Activity Loss and At-Risk Limits
    • Completing Schedule E Pages 1&2, Forms 8582 & 6198
  • Session 20
    • Form 1099 Misc Reporting Rules
    • 1099- K
    • CP2100 Notice
    • Business Use of Automobile
    • Travel, Meal & Entertainment Expenses
    • Gifts
    • Line-By-Line Instructions for Schedule C
  • Session 21
    • SE Taxes
    • Business Use of Home
    • Domestic Production Activities Deduction
    • Payroll Reporting Rules
    • Self-Employment Tax
    • Net Operating Loss Rules
    • Record Keeping Requirements
    • Farm Income
    • Preparation of Schedules C, SE, Form 8829 & 8903
  • Session 22
    • SE Tax
    • Social Security and Medicare Taxes On Unreported Tip Income
    • Rules Affecting Who Incorrectly Receive Form 1099 Misc. From Their Employers
    • Additional Taxes Owed on Early Distributions From Retirement Accounts
    • Household Employment Taxes
    • Estimated Taxes
    • Amended Returns
    • Kiddie Tax Rules
    • Parent’s Election to Report Child’s Interest & Dividend Income
    • Innocent and Injured Spouse Rules
    • Installment Agreements
    • Underpayment of Estimated Tax
    • Preparation of Forms 8919, SS-8, Schedule H, 5405, 8888, 8379, 9465, 8857, 2210, 8821, 1040X, 8814 & 8615
  • Session 23
    • IRS Ethics Rules Governing CPAs, EAs, and RTRPs
    • IRS E-File Requirements
  • Session 24
  • Session 25

Meet Your Instructor

April Gutierrez LTC EA
April Gutierrez,
Enrolled Agent:
Known for her entertaining speaking style and ability to make a complex subject easy to understand, April is frequently invited to speak to business groups and news media on tax-related topics. She has a B.A. in Communication Studies from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. She obtained her Oregon LTC in 1995.

April resides in Portland, Oregon, with her husband Jess and her two young boys. Her pastimes include gardening, travel, and playtime with her Arabian horse Fancy.

Any Time, Anywhere

openCampus, our online Learning Management System (LMS), offers you the flexibility to study at your own pace while still enjoying many of the benefits of a live classroom.

  • Watch lecture video recordings of live instructor-led classes.
  • Break to complete classwork and quiz assignments as instructed.
  • If you have a question or need help understanding your assignments, use our Q&A forum to post questions and receive answers from your instructor.
  • Complete assignments and tests then submit your answers online.

Advance Preparation Required

Our site requires an up-to-date Adobe Flash® Player and use of a high-speed Internet connection. To ensure your learning experience is worthwhile and productive we ask all students to take the time to become familiar with our site before attending class.

Recommended Minimum Requirements

The following requirements are recommended for using this site. Few students have reported success while operating outside of these requirements, therefore these are provided as a guideline for troubleshooting if you are having difficulties viewing or operating in this site.

Operating System:
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  • Unix/Linux
  • Solaris

*Your operating system should be fully updated.
**Mobile devices are not supported. 


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Disclosures and School Policies


Terms of Enrollment

Pacific Northwest Tax School's course materials and teaching techniques are valuable proprietary information of Pacific Northwest Tax School, and all such information is subject to copyright, including written, recorded, internet based as well as all other electronic media. Each Student agrees that she/he will use the information only for purposes of education and training; and as a condition of enrollment, that they will not to disseminate the information to any third party and will treat the materials as confidential information of Pacific Northwest Tax School. As a condition of enrollment, Students pledge not use any information in any competitive fashion, including to create or derive competitive materials. Students further agree that any breach of these terms and conditions shall cause the school irreparable harm, entitling Pacific Northwest Tax School to injunctive relief, as well as any other remedy that may be available at law or equity. Students shall have six months from date of enrollment in any course, to complete the course and receive their Certificate of Completion.

Basic Tax Law

Students taking any Basic Tax Law course, agree to comply with all Terms of Enrollment outlined the enrollment agreement form for that course, a link to which can be found on the catalog page for each Basic Tax course.

Prerequisites & Advance Preparation

Students intending to write the Oregon State Tax Exam, must be at least 18 years of age, and have High School Diploma or GED. Students using our self-paced internet based program should prepare for classes by downloading and printing course materials. For more information including detailed course descriptions and learning objectives, view the lesson plans of each course, located on Pacific Northwest Tax School's website at: 


Continuing professional education courses including interactive, non-interactive and correspondence program fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. Webinars/Webcasts are non-transferable and in most cases non-refundable. A student may choose to be switched to another Webinar/Webcast of equal or lesser value if a conflict with the scheduled time exists. In the case of a missed Webinar/Webcast a request to transfer to a new Webinar/Webcast must be made with 48 hours of when the Webinar/Webcast aired. Refunds will be issued ONLY prior to the start of the Webinar/Webcast. A $15.00 processing fee will be withheld from all refund amounts. For more information regarding administration policies including complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 503-646-5600.

Problem Resolution

Pacific Northwest Tax School gives the highest priority to delivering quality education programs.If you have concerns about our programs please contact the Pacific Northwest Tax School Education Coordinator at:


Manuals distributed and programs sponsored by Pacific Northwest Tax School are designed to teach application of tax laws. Pacific Northwest Tax School works to provide accurate and timely material to students, however the school does not have any responsibility if human and/or mechanical error exists.Accordingly, no assurance is given by Pacific Northwest Tax School that such information is totally comprehensive or accurate in its coverage of such subject matter. Information published or sponsored by Pacific Northwest Tax School should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research to original sources of authority such as the Internal Revenue Code, IRS Publications and Internal Revenue Rulings. Pacific Northwest Tax School, its authors, and instructors do not render legal, accounting, or other non-educational professional advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.  Credit hours are subject to change without notice.

IRS Approved

IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider

Notice to Members of the National Association of Enrolled Agents: NAEA requires its members to obtain 30 hours of CPE each year. NAEA further requires the CPE be in compliance with IRS guidelines. As an IRS approved sponsor of CPE, our programs meet CPE standards set forth by NAEA.


Approved National Registry of CPE Sponsor
NASBA Sponsor #109290

Pacific Northwest Tax School is registered with the National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:


California Tax Education Council Sponsor
CTEC Sponsor #6180

Pacific Northwest Tax School has been approved by the California Tax Education Council to offer Qualifying Education with our 87-HOUR CTEC Basic Tax Course - Federal & California Law which fulfills the 60-hour "qualifying education" requirement imposed by the State of California to become a tax preparer. A listing of additional requirements to register as a tax preparer may be obtained by contacting CTEC at P.O. Box 2890,Sacramento, CA, 95812-2890, toll-free by phone at (877) 850-2832 or on the internet at

OR Board of Tax Practitioners

Pacific Northwest Tax School is a licensed vocational school regulated by the Oregon Department of Education. Our CPE programs are approved by the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners.

TX State Board of Public Accountancy

Texas Sponsor #009794

The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy requires CPAs obtain CPE from a Board-approved sponsor. Pacific Northwest Tax School has registered with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy as a CPE sponsor. This registration does not constitute an endorsement by the Board as to the quality of our CPE programs.

NY State Board of Public Accountancy

Sponsor License #002479

The New York State Board for Public Accountancy requires CPAs obtain CPE from a Board-approved sponsor. Pacific Northwest Tax School has registered with the New York State Board for Public Accountancy as a CPE sponsor.

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