Course curriculum

  • 01

    Tax Year 2020 Introduction

    • .01 Why & How To Learn Tax Law

    • .03 Method of Learning Tax Law

    • .04 Lacerte Tax Software

    • .05 Free Tax Tools

    • .06 Tax Types or Categories

    • .07 Why Can the Government Tax Me

  • 02

    Tax Formula, Terms, & Introduction to Form 1040 - 2020

    • 106 Marginal & Average Tax Rates

    • 107 Tax Software Example Marginal & Average Tax Rates

    • 116 Income Tax Formula

    • 120 Tax Software Example Income Tax Formula

    • 140 Tax Law & Authority

    • 144 Circular 230 Regulations Governing Practice Before IRS

  • 03

    Filing Status and Dependents 2020

    • 205 Filing Status

    • 207 Tax Software Example Filing Status

    • 210 Dependents Overview

    • 211 Dependents Questionnaire

    • 214 Tax Software Example Dependents

    • 217 Standard Deduction

    • 220 Tax Software Example Standard Deduction

    • 224 Penalties & Interest


This course will provide an overview of income tax preparation. 

We well approach income tax preparation from three angles, using an income tax formula, using tax forms, and entering data into tax software. 

Tax software is not necessary for this course, but we will discuss using tax software because it is a critical part of practice in a tax firm and tax software helps us run scenarios quickly. We will be using Lacerte tax software, owned by Intuit, the owners of QuickBooks. Intuit often offers free 30-day trial periods of their software. Although not required, having access to tax software can be a good tool to practice with. 

Learners will understand how to think about income taxes in the form of an income tax equation, an equation being the fastest way to visualize the process, increasing our ability to understand the impact of changes in a tax scenario. 

The course will also outline the main tax forms, showing how the tax formula is represented in the tax forms. 

We will also discuss filing status and the impact it has on the income tax equation, showing examples in tax forms and using tax software. 

Learners will understand what dependents are, how one qualifies as a dependent, and the impact of dependents on the tax equation. 

Robert (Bob) Steele CPA CGMA CPI MStax


Through working with students from many different schools, Mr. Steele has learned best practices for helping people understand accounting fast. Learning new skills and finding the best way to share knowledge with people who can benefit from it is a passion of his.

Mr. Steele has experience working as a practicing Certified Public Accountant (CPA), an accounting and business instructor, and curriculum developer. He has enjoyed putting together quality tools to improve learning and has been teaching, making instructional resources, and building curriculum since 2009. He has been a practicing CPA since 2005. Mr. Steele is a practicing CPA, has a Certified Post-Secondary Instructor (CPI) credential, a Master of Science in taxation from Golden Gate University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics with an emphasis in accounting from The University of California Santa Barbara, and a Global Management Accounting Designation (CGMA) from The American Institute of CPA (AICPA).

Mr. Steele has also authored five books that can be found on Amazon or in audiobook format on Audible. He has developed bestselling courses in accounting topics including financial accounting and QuickBooks accounting software.

In addition to working as an accountant, teaching, and developing courses Mr. Steele has helped create an accounting website at accountinginstruction, a YouTube channel called Accounting Instruction, Help, and How Too, and has developed supplemental resources including a Facebook Page, Twitter Page, and Podcasts that can be found on I-tunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud. Mr. Steele’s teaching philosophy is to make content applicable, understandable, and accessible.

Adult learners are looking for application when they learn new skills. In other words, learners want to be able to apply skills in the real world to help their lives. Mr. Steele’s formal accounting education, practical work experience, and substantial teaching experience allow him to create a curriculum that combines traditional accounting education with practical knowledge and application. He accomplishes the goals of making accounting useful and applicable by combining theory with real-world software like Excel and QuickBooks.

Many courses teach QuickBooks data entry or Excel functions but are not providing the real value learners want. Real value is a result of learning technical skills like applications, in conjunction with specific goals, like accounting goals, including being able to interpret the performance of a business.

Mr. Steele makes knowledge understandable by breaking down complex concepts into smaller units with specific objectives and using step by step learning processes to understand each unit. Many accounting textbooks cram way too much information into a course, making it impossible to understand any unit fully. By breaking the content down into digestible chunks, we can move forward much faster.

Mr. Steele also makes use of color association in both presentations and Excel worksheets, a learning tool often overlooked in the accounting field, but one that can vastly improve the speed and comprehension of learning accounting concepts.

The material is also made understandable through the application of concepts learned. Courses will typically demonstrate the accounting concepts and then provide an Excel worksheet or practice problems to work through the concepts covered. The practice problems will be accompanied by an instructional video to work through the problem in step by step format. Excel worksheets will be preformatted, usually including an answer tab that shows the completed problem, and a practice tab where learners can complete the problem along with a step by step presentation video.

Mr. Steele makes learning accounting accessible by making use of technology and partnering with teaching platforms that have a vision of spreading knowledge.