Tax Examiner: Employment Info & Requirements

Apr 14, 2019

Read on to learn what tax examiners do. Find out what kind of education and training is required for employment. Get the details about job prospects and earning potential to see if this career is right for you. Also, learn about similar careers where you could work with numbers and taxes.

Career Definition of a Tax Examiner

Tax examiners are responsible for reviewing filed tax returns and determining whether or not the tax credits and deductions claimed by the filer are allowed by the law. Tax examiners report any corrections or adjustments to the state or federal government. While reviewing tax returns, tax examiners verify social security numbers and ensure that taxpayers' math and payments are accurate. According to the Internal Revenue Service, tax examiners will contact taxpayers and inform them of any over or underpayments.

Education Bachelor's degree in accounting, on-the-job training
Job Skills Number sense, trustworthiness, analytical abilities, time management skills, ability to manage stress, good interpersonal skills, patience, ability to work independently
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $54,440 for tax examiners, tax collectors, and revenue agents
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* -1% (decline) employment decline for tax examiners, tax collectors, and revenue agents

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS ) reports that individuals interested in becoming tax examiners must graduate with at least a bachelor's degree in accounting. While in school, students take classes in auditing, tax compliance laws, and multiple levels of accounting and finance. Employers offer tax examiners on-the-job training when beginning a career and continue to educate them as changes in tax laws, regulations, and procedures are adopted.

Skills Required

Tax examiners must be trustworthy, have excellent analytical skills, and be good with numbers. Examiners must be able to work independently and have terrific time management abilities. Developing good interpersonal skills and patience can be beneficial for tax examiners as their career advances and as they may occasionally have contact with tax filers. Anyone entering the field needs to be prepared for and able to handle stressful situations.

Economic and Career Outlook

Most careers in tax examination are available through federal and state governments, but the private sector has begun employing tax examiners for business purposes. The BLS noted that there is expected to be a 1% decrease in the number of jobs available to tax examiners, tax collectors and revenue agents from 2016-2026, primarily attributable to shrinking local, state, and federal government budgets. The BLS stated that the median salary for these professionals was $54,440 annually in 2018.

Alternate Career Options

If you enjoy working with numbers, financial records, and taxes, you might want to consider becoming an auditing clerk or accountant.

Auditing Clerk

An auditing clerk reviews a company's financial records, double-checking calculations, fixing errors, and reporting his or her findings. Auditing clerks look at records related to accounts receivable and payable, expenditures and revenue, and profit and loss. A minimum of a high school diploma is required for employment, although postsecondary classes in accounting can give an applicant an advantage. Auditing clerks typically receive on-the-job training. Professional certification is voluntary.

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks can expect their employment outlook to decline by 1% from 2016-2026, per the BLS. These positions paid a median salary of $40,240 per year in 2018, also per the BLS.


Accountants prepare and review a company's financial records for accuracy in reporting and also in search of ways to increase revenue; they also play a role in making sure that a company's financial processes and procedures meet accepted standards, making suggestions to senior staff as needed. Some accountants also provide services to the public.

Accountants typically have at least a bachelor's degree in accounting. Those who file paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of their job must have Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) credentials; this requires additional coursework, training, and an exam. Several additional professional certifications are available with similar requirements. The BLS predicts that accounting and auditing jobs will increase by 10% from 2016-2026. These jobs paid a median annual salary of $70,500 in 2018, also per the BLS.

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