Professionals in the taxation industry may work as accountants, auditors, financial advisors or even IRS agents. Read on to learn more about this field.
Is Work in Taxation for Me?
Taxation can encompass a wide range of career choices including but not limited to tax examiners, revenue agents, tax collectors, public accountants and tax preparers. Responsibilities may include collecting tax money, examining tax returns and helping people complete their tax return. Most tax agents work 40 hours each week and sometimes more during tax season. You should be comfortable using a computer and doing calculations. Many taxation jobs have you interacting with other people, so you need to have good verbal and written communication skills. Most tax workers need to keep up with changes in tax laws in order to provide accurate information to their clients and employers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected a 4% decline in job opportunities for tax examiners and an average 13% increase for accountants from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). Accountants who specialize in taxes should have good job prospects as businesses grow and taxes become more complex. Tax examiners made a median yearly income of $50,440 in 2012 and accountants made $63,550 that same year, so individuals interested in these lines of work may be able to enjoy a good salary.
How Can I Work in Taxation?
The amount of education you need to work in taxation depends on your career choice. Some tax collection workers may only need a few college courses combined with experience in a related field, but you will need a bachelor's degree in order to work as an accountant or a tax examiner. The IRS also requires you to hold a bachelor's degree. Some employers may also require at least a year of full-time experience in your chosen taxation specialty.
You have a variety of degree options that can prepare you to work in taxation. A bachelor's degree in accounting can prepare you for multiple careers in the tax field. Other useful degree programs include economics, business administration and finance. A bachelor's degree program in accounting gives you course options such as business analytics, introduction to taxation and financial statements.
If you wish to go on to graduate school, a master's program in accountancy might be a good option for you. Some schools may offer a tax services concentration option which can prepare you to understand complex tax laws.
Licensing and Certification
If you are an accountant, you may need to become licensed to work in some positions. The Certified Public Accountant designation may be useful if you work in taxation. You will need a combination of education and experience, in addition to passing an exam, to earn this designation. There are also a number of voluntary accountant certifications that might open up opportunities for advancement.