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I took the H&R Block basic tax course 3 years ago (and worked as a preparer for 2 years).

As I recall, class was held 2 nights a week, 3 hours a night for 10 or 12 weeks. Most people who take the course do so with the intent of working for H&R Block, but not everyone.

The course material is two big binders full of information and practice problems, and the materials are yours to keep. You'll have weekly quizzes (easy), homework problems, and a final exam. All of the tax returns done in the basic course are done on paper. (If you go to work for H&R Block, then they'll teach you how to use their proprietary software program -- it's much different from the one you buy in the store.)

The H&R Block basic course is very informative, but you'll spend a lot of time covering things that won't be relevant to your own tax situation. If I were you, I would skip the "tax preparer" classes and instead get a copy of IRS Publication 17 (it's free) and read it. Unless you have a very complicated tax situation, Pub 17 and Turbo Tax should be able to guide you through all you need to know to prepare your own taxes.

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