Tax Accountant: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a tax accountant. Learn about degree requirements, salary and employment outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Accounting - Taxation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Tax Accountant?

Tax accountants are trained like other accountants, but they specialize in tax preparation. They review financial records, complete tax returns, figure out taxes owed and make sure they are paid on time. Tax accountants examine account books and maintain records. They must abide by accounting procedures. Many times they will find and share ways to reduce costs and grow revenue.

Learn more about this career ahead, including academic requirements and possible earnings in the tax accounting field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Accounting
Key Skills Math, organization, communication, attention to detail
Licensure/Certification Certification/licensure as a public accountant is required if submitting tax information to the Securities and Exchange Commission
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11% (for all accountants and auditors)*
Median Salary (2015) $67,190 (for all accountants and auditors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Can I Become a Tax Accountant?

Most tax accountants hold at least a bachelor's degree in accounting. Many accountants also pursue the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential - you'll need to complete at least 150 credit-hours of relevant coursework and take a 4-part exam in order to be a CPA. Because most bachelor's programs only include 120 credit-hours, some schools offer integrated accountancy programs that lead to both a bachelor's and master's degree. Enrolling in one of these programs can help you meet the 150 credit-hour requirement for the CPA designation.

What Skills Should I Have?

Many accountants have a strong understanding of mathematics and are proficient in computer-based accounting programs, like QuickBooks and ATX Total Tax Office. Some employers prefer candidates who have prior accounting experience. If you don't have a professional accounting background and you want to pursue a degree in the field, keep in mind that many schools offer internships through accounting bachelor's and master's programs.

What's the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed accountants and auditors was expected to increase by 11% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Changes in government regulations and an increased focus on financial transparency among businesses may spur job growth during this time. Job applicants who hold the CPA credential or have a master's degree in accounting may find the best job prospects.

As of May 2015, the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $67,190, according to the BLS. The top ten percent of these professionals earned roughly $118,930, while the lowest ten percent made $41,400.

What Opportunities for Advancement Are Available?

The BLS notes that most accountants advance by gaining professional experience or earning certification. After learning the ropes as a tax accountant, you could pursue a supervisory role or open a private tax accounting practice. If you're interested in conducting research or teaching at the college level, you might enroll in an accountancy doctoral program.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Alternative career options include a budget analyst, cost estimator, and financial manager. These three options all require a bachelor's degree. A budget analyst helps organizations organize and budget their finances. They create reports and observe spending of the organization. A cost estimator collects and reviews data to report the time, costs, materials used, and any labor in creating a product. Financial managers manage the finances in an organization. They develop financial reports and strategies to help with long term finances.

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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