Chief Tax Officer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 15, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a chief tax officer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

You can prepare for a career leading a team of accountants and managing all tax activity for a company by earning a bachelor's degree in a business-related field. Becoming a Certified Public Accountant and gaining experience with tax regulations, reporting, and compliance may be necessary as well. Other responsibilities may include hiring, payroll, and overseeing the work of related professionals within the company.

Essential Information

A corporation's chief tax officer oversees all tax reporting and ensures compliance with government regulations. This financial executive manager directs and coordinates the work of staff accountants who prepare tax schedules and returns for a corporation. They might report to a controller or chief financial officer. At minimum, a bachelor's degree is required.

Required Education At least a bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Experience as a financial management professional
Certification/License A Certified Public Accountant credential may be required
Projected Job Growth* 16% (2018-2028) for financial managers, in general
Median Annual Salary* $127,990 (2015) for financial managers, in general

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description of a Chief Tax Officer

A chief tax officer is a senior corporate financial manager responsible for determining organizational liabilities to tax authorities. They oversee the staff that prepares federal, state and local income taxes for the company. Additional tax responsibilities could include payroll, sales and property tax filings. They can research and develop tax accounting strategies that influence the decisions of other financial managers, such as controllers or the chief financial officer.

Duties of a Chief Tax Officer

A chief tax officer hires, reviews and directs the work of staff tax accountants who keep financial records and prepare tax schedules, returns and related financial reports. They might also oversee the work of auditors, compliance specialists and tax planners. Chief tax officers must stay current of all government tax regulations at the federal, state and local levels and adjust corporate strategies accordingly to maintain compliance.

Tax management professionals typically use budget and accounting software, 10-key machines and tax manuals. They analyze budgets, participate in financial audits and could prepare tax reports to present to executive management and corporate investors.

Requirements of a Chief Tax Officer

Education Requirements

Financial managers could complete a bachelor's degree program in accounting, business administration, economics or finance to provide the academic foundation for the profession. Because chief tax officers are senior managers, earning a master's degree in tax law, business or accounting could demonstrate a commitment to the profession. Due to the corporate level of the position, chief tax officers often require a significant amount of experience as a financial and management professional.

Certification Requirements

Tax managers perform and oversee accounting work. Most states require accountants to earn a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license from their state board of accountancy. Additionally, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will only accept filings from a CPA, making certification a requirement for those who work for publicly traded companies.

Requirements to become a CPA vary by state, but generally include relevant education and up to two years' accounting experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. All states require prospective CPAs to pass the Uniform CPA Examination administered by the American Institute of CPAs. Most states also require continuing education to maintain the license.

Salary and Job Outlook

Salaries for chief tax officers may depend on the size and structure of the company in which they work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that financial managers in general made a median annual salary of $127,990 as of May 2018. The BLS projected that this occupational group would see a much faster than average job growth of 16% over the 2018-2028 decade.

In summary, a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance paired with a CPA designation may be enough to become a chief tax officer, but a master's degree and extensive industry experience are probably both necessary to be competitive in the job market. These professionals lead teams of employees within a company to oversee all accounting work. This could include compliance with tax regulations, preparation of reports and determination of corporate liability to tax authorities.

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