How Can I Become a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist?

Explore the career requirements for certified tax resolution specialists. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Accounting - Taxation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist?

Tax resolution specialists help clients work with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to solve tax-related problems. Professional certification is available for agents, accountants and attorneys. Certified tax resolution specialists evaluate their clients' taxes and financial information to identify mistakes and inconsistencies. Based on their findings, they negotiate with tax authorities in order to come to fair and favorable agreements.

The following chart provides an overview of what is needed to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Accounting or law
Licensure Required Certified Tax Resolution Specialist designation with the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers (ASTPS)
Job Growth (2014-24) 6% decline for tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents*
Average Salary (2015) $57,280 for tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist?

As a tax resolution specialist, you would represent taxpayers to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and help clients fix their tax issues. Whether a client needs help paying back taxes, dealing with an audit or resolving other tax problems, you would employ your tax law knowledge to serve as a liaison between your client and the IRS. You could work at a private firm that focuses on tax resolution, or you could work as an accountant, dealing with a number of tax-related tasks. Because they represent clients to a government agency, tax resolution specialists are sometimes called tax attorneys, so you could approach the position from a background in law.

What Education Do I Need?

There are multiple paths you could take to gather the knowledge and experience needed to work as a tax resolution specialist. If you choose to enter the field from an accounting background, you could complete a bachelor's degree program in accounting, gain some entry-level experience as a public accountant and take the examination to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). If you choose to start from a law perspective, you could enroll in a bachelor's degree program with a pre-law major, attend law school and pass your state's bar exam. You could also become an enrolled agent (EA), an IRS employee who represents taxpayers and has passed an examination or gathered experience working for the IRS.

How Do I Become Certified?

The American Society of Tax Problem Solvers (ASTPS) offers the Certified Tax Resolution Specialist designation ( To be eligible to take the examination for certification, you must have completed at least one year of full-time work experience in the tax resolution field; have taken at least eight continuing education courses through the ASTPS or a similar organization; and be a CPA, EA or attorney You must also be an ASTPS member and sign a code of ethics. The exam consists of two parts: a general tax resolution knowledge multiple-choice section and a tax problem case.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As an accountant, you could specialize in an area other than taxes. For instance, you might work as a management accountant. In this job, you would monitor the financial situation of an organization and offer advice about budgeting, investments and performance enhancement. The minimum educational requirement for this job is a bachelor's degree. Alternatively, if you would rather work with individuals, you could become a personal financial advisor. In this job, you might advise clients about taxes, in addition to a wide range of other financial topics, including insurance, retirement planning and investments. Most personal financial advisors have a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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