Tax Advisor Education Requirements and Career Information

Sep 10, 2019

Tax advisors require some formal education and training, such as a bachelor's degree or experience and accredidation. Learn about the degrees, job duties and accredidation to see if this is the right career for you.

Tax advisors provide guidance to individuals and businesses regarding tax laws. It is not uncommon for tax advisors to also be Certified Public Accountants. Educational requirements vary, and some professionals become Accredited Tax Advisors, which requires continuing education.

Essential Information

Tax advisors provide businesses and individuals with guidance in financial planning and adhering to tax laws. While no specific degree, licensure or certification is required to be a tax advisor, many are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or tax lawyers, or have earned a bachelor's degree in finance or accounting. The Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT) offers accreditation for tax advisors, and they offer continuing education programs for taxation professionals.

Required Education No specific educational path; Bachelor's degree in finance or accounting, Juris Doctor Degree
Certification Accredited Tax Advisor Credentials from ACAT, CPA
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% for accountants and auditors
7% for personal financial advisors
Average Annual Salary (2018)* $46,860 for tax preparers
$121,770 for personal financial advisors

Source: *US Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Education Requirements to Become a Tax Advisor

Bachelor's Degree

Earning a bachelor's degree in finance or accounting can demonstrate a base knowledge of tax law, tax preparation, methods of accountancy and financial theory. Some academic programs in these fields offer specializations in taxation.

A bachelor's degree program in accounting or finance prepares students to work in entry-level positions at tax preparation and advisory firms, or in the accounting departments of corporations. These jobs provide future tax advisors with the experience necessary to advise individuals and businesses on tax issues.

Juris Doctor Degree

Some students may wish to pursue a law degree, or Juris Doctor (J.D.), in taxation, which offers a legal education that emphasizes tax law. Graduates of a tax law program learn about federal income tax, international tax law, taxes in businesses, taxation of trust and many other areas of tax law, including state tax laws and capital gains taxes.

Continuing Professional Education

To become an Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA), tax preparation professionals with five or more years of experience can apply for credentials with the ACAT. To maintain accreditation, 90 credit hours of continuing education are required over 3-year cycles, including 86 hours of financial and tax-related education and four credit hours of ethics courses. Continuing education courses approved by ACAT can be found through schools and universities, the National Society of Accountants (NSA) and approved individual study. Some tax education programs can also be found online.

Career Information

Tax advisors might work for a tax preparation firm serving individual clients or businesses. Some tax advisors go into business for themselves, sometimes opening tax advising services specializing in personal wealth management or small business taxation. Tax advisors who are also CPAs or attorneys might make those roles the primary function of their careers and incorporate tax advising into those jobs.

Because tax advisors can work in such diverse roles, salary and employment projections vary. According to the US Department of Labor and Statistics, '', financial advisors earned an average annual salary of $121,770 in 2018.

Tax advisors can pursue a variety of specialities. Some work as CPAs in accounting departments for large corporations, while others advise individuals on complex tax issues. Educational requirements vary greatly and may include a bachelor's degree or Juris Doctor.

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