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Tax Examiner: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a tax examiner. Learn about degree requirements, job duties, employment growth and average salary to find out if this is the career for you.

What is a Tax Examiner?

A tax examiner is a government employee who reviews tax returns for accuracy. They ensure that the government is properly paid by businesses and individuals, focusing on deductions and credits. They handle errors and issues by performing audits and contacting the necessary parties about fees, interest and penalties. Most only handle simple returns by individuals and small businesses. They complete clerical tasks, such as entering information into a database. If this sounds like an interesting way to put your analytical skills to use, check out the career info in the table below:

Degree Required A bachelor's degree is typically required
Education Field of Study Accounting or a related field
Key Responsibilities Process tax returns, identify filing errors, remedy problems with returns
Job Growth (2018-2028) 2% decline (for all tax examiners, tax collectors and revenue agents)*
Median Salary (2018) $54,440 (for all tax examiners, tax collectors and revenue agents)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Tax Examiner Do?

Whether working at the local, state or federal level, tax examiners have the same basic responsibilities. As a tax examiner, you'll perform certain administrative duties, such as coding and entering information from tax returns into computers for processing. You'll also review tax returns, looking for any errors or discrepancies that may have been made accidentally. For example, you might check to see if the taxpayer followed the instructions for filling out tax forms correctly and if he made any mathematical errors.

You'll also have to make sure that all credits and deductions claimed by the tax preparer and tax payer are legally allowed. Upon discovering any problems, you'll have to contact the individuals or small businesses responsible to determine the causes of the problems, get missing information and make necessary changes.

What Are My Requirements for Entering This Field?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a majority of workers in this field have a bachelor's degree in accounting or a similar field (www.bls.gov). However, having sufficient relevant experience may be enough to land you a job, especially at the state and local levels. Relevant work experience includes experience as an accountant, tax compliance officer or auditor. In addition to work experience, completing college-level courses in accounting or business may help you find employment.

Upon landing a job, you'll usually go through some form of training provided by your employer. You'll also need to pursue education on your own and keep up with changes in the field. In addition, you'll need to pass a background check if you want to work for the federal government.

What Salary Can I Expect To Earn?

The BLS does not provide salary information that is specific to tax examiners. However, it did report that the average annual wage for tax examiners, tax collectors and revenue agents was $60,500 as of May 2018. Individuals working for the federal government earned the highest average salaries, at $70,730 per year. Tax examiners, tax collectors and revenue agents working for state and local governments made an average of $55,590 and $49,320 per year, respectively.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related occupations include accountants and auditors, budget analysts and financial analysts. Accountants and auditors handle financial records and operations. Budget analysts do the same for public and private institutions. Financial analysts focus on investments, such as stocks and bonds. All of these careers require a bachelor's degree.