How Do I Become a Tax Collector?

Explore the career requirements for tax collectors. Get the facts about education and training, key skills and salary information to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Tax Collector Do?

As a tax collector you will represent government agencies and coordinate the requisition of funds. Tax collectors review the filed documents of businesses and individuals to verify accuracy and lawfulness. If anything needs to be clarified or investigated, they will conduct an audit and contact the taxpayer. Either additional payment requests or refunds will be issued. In some cases, wages must be garnished to settle debt. The following table presents some basic information:

Degree Required Bachelor's degree (recommended)
Training Required On-the-job training program, continuing education
Key Skills Computer skills, quantitative skills, communication, negotiation, professionalism
Certification Background check, valid driver's license
Job Growth (2014-24) -6%* (for tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents)
Median Salary (2015) $51,430* (for tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Skills Do I Need as a Tax Collector?

As a tax collector, you will contact and correspond with taxpayers that have delinquent accounts. Computer skills will be necessary to access and research taxpayer accounts. Quantitative skills are also needed because part of your job will be to research a person's financial status in determining his or her ability to pay delinquent taxes.

Correspondence with taxpayers may be written or verbal and requires strong communication skills. Your job will sometimes require you to make the decision to take a lien on assets or garnish the wages of an individual. Any related correspondence may be reviewed in a court of law and needs to be done in a professional manner.

Negotiating skills can be helpful when trying to reach payment deals with taxpayers. Strong professionalism and the ability to maintain confidentiality are also required for this job.

What Education Do I Need?

A bachelor's degree or acceptable experience in a related field, such as collections or investigation may be acceptable to secure entry-level positions as a tax collector for state or local government agencies and the Internal Revenue Service. You may consider a bachelor's degree program in accounting, criminal justice, finance or business to prepare for this career if you have no related experience.

Will I Need Additional Training?

Most government agencies offer on-the-job training programs that may last as long as two years. During training, you will usually work under the guidance of an experienced tax collector.

The IRS offers multiple training options to new hires. In addition to on-the-job training, you can partake in classroom or web-based classes and continuing education courses offered by the organization. The IRS also offers tuition reimbursement, so you can go back to college to get more training, if you prefer.

Are There Additional Requirements?

Part of your job is to stay current with changes in the tax laws, so continuing education is highly recommended and may be mandated by some employers. To work for the IRS and possibly for other government agencies, you will need to pass a background check. Additionally, many positions require traveling to meet with taxpayers at their location, so a valid driver's license is often required.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers include accountants and auditors, budget analysts and cost estimators. Accountants and auditors manage financial documents and plans. Budget analysts handle finances for public and private institutions. Cost estimators assess the amount of resources required for product manufacturing. All of these fields require 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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