Tax Accountant: Career and Salary Information

A tax accountant requires some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

To put it simply, tax accountants help clients prepare their taxes. Whether it's for a business or an individual, these experts help them prepare local, state and federal tax forms. Professional tax accountants can expect to make over $75,000 a year.

Essential Information

Tax accountants aid individuals and businesses in the preparation of forms for local, state and federal taxes. They need a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, although many hold master's degrees. Although not required for tax accountants, some in this field opt to become certified public accountants (CPAs), which requires additional education beyond the bachelor's level, as well as experience and passing a comprehensive examination. Some tax accountants also earn professional certification, although it, too, is not mandatory.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Licensing and Certification CPA and state licensing are optional for tax accountants, but some do pursue these credentials
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11% for all auditors and accountants
Mean Salary (2015)* $75,280 for all auditors and accountants

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Tax Accountant

The minimum educational requirement for a tax accountant position is usually a bachelor's degree in accounting. Many states or employers may require additional education in the form of a master's degree. Alternate degrees include business administration with a specialization directed towards accounting. Students must look for programs and coursework directly related to tax work.

Many tax accountants earn Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designations. This licensure is available through the State Board of Accountancy. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants reports that an examination is required for this designation. This examination is taken in four parts, and the exact requirements vary from state to state.

While professional certifications are not a requirement to work in this field, they are highly recommended for tax accountants. Certification demonstrates an additional level of professionalism and talent. One of the certifications available to tax accountants is the Certified Management Accountant designation, which is offered by the Institute of Management Accountants. This designation requires students to submit proof of a bachelor's degree or scores on the entry examination for graduate school.

Career Information

Tax accountants specialize in assisting customers with the filing of their federal and state taxes. While firms typically hire accountants, some are self-employed and find their own clients. Initially, a tax accountant must meet with a client to determine his or her needs. Some customers merely want a tax related question answered, while others want their taxes done for them.

In order for an accountant to file taxes for a client, they must request all their necessary information, including financial documents and pay stubs. Once all that information is collected, the tax accountant analyzes them, looks for any deductions and determines the amount of taxes owed. After this is completed, a tax accountant does a final verification before providing the documents to the client who may submit them or have them submitted on their behalf.

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that accountants and auditors made a mean annual salary of $75,280 in May 2015. The BLS also shows that employment for accountants and auditors should increase 11% from 2014 through 2024. This increase is due to the growing economy and the need for accountants to examine financial documents and ensure greater transparency in financial reporting.

Aside from being experts in tax law and finance, tax accountants must also be organized, thorough, observant and have great communication skills. If you believe that you possess these talents, then a career as a tax accountant may be for you.

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