Tax Compliance Officer: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a tax compliance officer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about salary and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Tax compliance officers are assigned tax cases by the IRS to examine. By inspecting these cases, a tax compliance officer can tell if an individual or business owes money in taxes. When this money is owed, a tax compliance officer confronts the taxpayer and collects the money. A bachelor's degree in financing, business or accounting is necessary. Job training must be completed after being hired.

Required EducationBachelor's degree
Additional Requirement Completion of IRS training program
Projected Job Growth* (2012-2022) -4% for tax examiners, collectors and revenue agents
Median Salary* (2013) $50,610 annually for tax examiners, collectors and revenue agents

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

Job Description

Tax compliance officers work with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). By conducting and planning investigations, a tax compliance officer determines if businesses and individuals are paying the required taxes. Tax compliance officers freely gives advice to the taxpayers assigned to them. Any issues a taxpayer has with taxes are brought to and answered by the tax compliance officer.

The first duty a tax compliance officer performs in a case is ensuring the accuracy of any credits and deductions a taxpayer has claimed. While examining this information, a tax compliance officer can detect tax problems at the federal, state and local levels. If a claim or payment is determined to be inaccurate, a tax compliance officer then contacts the taxpayer. From there, advice is freely given and legal action can be pursued if the taxpayer doesn't follow the necessary procedures.

The normal work environment for a tax compliance officer is an office setting. Traveling can be necessary to meet with individuals and to visit businesses assigned to the tax compliance officer. Trips to government owned buildings are also common. A standard 40-hour work week is normal for tax compliance officers with additional hours often being necessary during the tax season.

Education Requirements

The preferred education for a tax compliance officer is a bachelor's degree. This degree needs to be in business, accounting or a similar major. These 4-year degree programs cover subjects like accounting, criminal justice, business, finances, economics and taxes.

In addition to this education, job training and work experience is expected. Any previous auditing or accounting experience is an asset. The formal training program covers information like bookkeeping, tax analysis and accounting. This training program is completed under the guidance of a trained and experienced tax instructor. Training can last years before a tax compliance officer is allowed to work independently or on difficult cases.

Regular continued education is expected through seminars that provide tax compliance officers with information regarding any changes in regulations and procedures. Attending educational seminars or meetings are recommended and encouraged by employers.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Demand for tax examiners, collectors and revenue agents is expected to decrease by 4% from 2012 to 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS credits this decline to government budget reductions. The median salary for individuals in this profession was $50,610 in 2013, as reported by the BLS.

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