Tax Accountant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: April 20, 2022

A Tax Accountant, or Tax CPA, is a finance professional responsible for helping individuals and organizations file their taxes appropriately while following legal guidelines and obtaining the maximum possible tax return. Their duties include collecting tax forms and tracking client paperwork, identifying potential tax credits and producing tax reports.

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Tax Accountant duties and responsibilities

A Tax Accountant’s duties are all tax-related and include the following:

  • Prepare tax provisions schedules, returns, payments, reports and maintain a company’s tax database
  • Find tax solutions to complicated tax issues or errors from incorrect tax filings
  • Identify legal tax savings and recommend ways to improve profits
  • Make sure that clients comply with federal, state and local tax regulations
  • Advise management about the impact of tax liabilities and corporate strategies or new tax laws
  • Coordinate outsourced tax preparation work
  • Accurately prepare quarterly and annual tax reports
  • Keep up-to-date with tax changes and industry trends by participating in educational opportunities, participating in professional organizations, keeping up with professional networks and reading professional publications

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What does a Tax Accountant do?

Tax Accountants can work at accounting firms, accounting departments at large companies or as part of the financial team for a small business. Their primary role is to make sure that their clients file their taxes appropriately to prevent fines. They process complex tax paperwork and government forms, appropriately documenting business activities to make it easier to prepare annual tax returns. Tax Accountants audit company records to identify and correct any mistakes or source missing documents. They create a tax payment schedule and help manage their client’s tax budget.

Tax Accountants also serve a supervisory and consulting position where they recommend company policies to enable savings on taxes. They research tax laws and stay up-to-date on the potential tax liabilities in their industry.

Tax Accountant skills and qualifications

A great Tax Accountant needs to have the following key skills:

  • Good communication skills: A Tax Accountant must be able to explain complex tax regulations in a simple and clear way to non-specialists so that they can understand easily.
  • Numeracy: Although a Tax Accountant does not need to be a math genius, he or she will be working with numbers, and thus needs to be comfortable with numbers. 
  • Time management: Being a Tax Accountant means that there are specific deadlines that need to be met. A Tax Accountant must be able to prioritize tasks and take responsibility for a professional workload. 
  • Problem-solving skills: A great Tax Accountant must be able to solve issues and be creative in their thinking. For example, a Tax Accountant may need to reduce the amount of tax a client pays, it’s up to the Tax Accountant to know which tools are available and find a clever solution using tools like trusts and tax-free investments.
  • Attention to detail: The regulations in the tax law mean exactly what they say, a Tax Accountant must pay attention to each word in the law.   
  • Well-organized:  During their career, a Tax Accountant will face many complex issues and tasks, thus, being well-organized and able to work through them methodically is an essential skill.

Tax Accountant salary expectations

On average, in the U.S., a Tax Accountant can expect to earn a yearly salary of $61,946. This salary estimated is based on 1,849 salaries submitted to Indeed, by Tax Accountants and collected over the past 36 months from job posts. This estimated salary is based on 1 to 3 years of Tax Accountant job experience. 

Tax Accountant education and training requirements

To qualify as a Tax Accountant, a candidate must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Accounting or relevant field. Taking a certified public accountant exam upon graduation may give a candidate a competitive edge over other applicants. 

Tax Accountant experience requirements

Job experience requirements may vary from company to company, with most businesses requiring at least 3+ years of experience as a Tax Accountant or in a similar role.  

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Frequently asked questions about Tax Accountant

What is the difference between a Tax Accountant and a Tax Preparer?

Tax Accountants and Tax Preparers are both financial professionals dedicated to helping their clients manage their tax information. The main difference between a Tax Preparer and a Tax Accountant is the scope of their work. Tax Preparers provide basic assistance to clients during tax season, while Tax Accountants consistently work with their clients to shape their financial management strategies. 

Tax Accountants also have more advanced qualifications than Tax Preparers, allowing them to give in-depth financial help to their clients. Tax Preparers have the training to help someone file their tax returns appropriately, but they may not have the advanced financial training to advise on company tax policy. Tax Preparers primarily work with individuals instead of businesses because of the complex nature of company tax returns.

 

What are the daily duties of a Tax Accountant?

Tax Accountants work in an office environment, where they use bookkeeping techniques to manage a large amount of company paperwork. Tax Accountants are usually the busiest during tax season when they actively work to file taxes on time for their clients, although they may also prepare tax returns throughout the year to help clients working on an extended schedule. They request tax forms, collect signatures to authorize submissions, review tax summaries and document each client’s tax status. They conduct research to resolve issues, make corrections to tax forms and digitize paper documents. Tax Accountants communicate with company leaders to determine how their business choices could impact their tax burden.

 

What are the characteristics of a good Tax Accountant?

Because Tax Accountants work with extensive amounts of paperwork, receipts and forms, they must be highly organized. Good Tax Accountants are able to devise logical systems to plan, sort and track financial information for each client, creating clear documentation that complies with legal regulations. They should have excellent math skills to help them calculate the tax costs related to different sources of income and accurately predict the amount of each tax return. 

It’s also important for Tax Accountants to display honesty and integrity in their work to build trust with clients and prevent tax fraud. Successful Tax Accountants respect confidentiality for their clients and treat sensitive financial information with attentive care. They give their clients sound financial advice while upholding laws to ensure they make an appropriate tax contribution.

 

What should you look for on a Tax Accountant's resume?

When hiring for a Tax Accountant, look for candidates who have a valid Certified Public Accountant designation. Candidates with CPA status have to meet rigorous knowledge requirements, preparing them to handle tax accounting responsibilities. Look for resumes that feature previous experience working with or learning about corporate tax law to select candidates with extensive knowledge of IRS tax code. Prioritize candidates who share the impact of their expertise by identifying how they have saved clients money or streamlined their tax documents.

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