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Tax Accountant Career Guide

How to Become a Tax Accountant

Tax season can be a stressful time for companies and individuals alike. Tax accountants help all clients replace this anxiety with peace of mind, offering services that help make taxes a simple, straightforward process. As a tax accountant, you will help clients navigate tax situations while you streamline all tax filings.

Tax accountants also help clients take advantage of rebates and tax credits to earn the maximum possible refund. No matter how complex a company’s tax documentation might be, tax accountants apply financial and legal skills to help them safely file all documents on time.

If you’re someone who enjoys fiscal responsibility, and you enjoy helping clients solve even the most complicated tax situations, the career of a tax accountant is ideal for you.

A woman sits at her dining room table with laptop and financial reports doing her monthly budget. She is smiling at the ease of use as she works on her smart phone banking app to do monthly finances, pay taxes and save money for the future.

What Is a Tax Accountant?

A tax accountant handles a company’s ongoing tax needs, especially during the height of tax season. They might advise companies in filing certain rebate forms, assist in packaging tax documents for submission, and draft tax reports that comply with all federal guidelines.

A tax accountant will likely be a CPA or certified professional accountant. This designation means that they have specific licenses that allow them to work on specific tax documents, with government organizations, and meet certain compliance standards. All tax accountants are expected to obtain a valid undergraduate degree. Many also need to obtain a master’s degree, in addition to their CPA certification.

What Does a Tax Accountant Do?

Tax accountants perform a wide variety of tasks. On some days, you might consult with clients about their tax strategies. On other days, you might spend time filing tax documents, using a company’s financial database, or ensuring tax compliance.

The responsibilities of a tax accountant include:

  • Filing tax documents on a client’s behalf.
  • Consulting with clients to help them prepare for tax season over the year.
  • Ensuring continued compliance with all local, state, and federal tax laws.
  • Pursuing all available tax rebates and credits that help clients save money.
  • Preparing any requested or required tax reports.
  • Researching any updates to current tax laws or regulations.
  • Resolving issues in a client’s tax filings or tax bookkeeping methods.
  • Communicating with fellow tax accountants and with other members of a company’s financial department.

These and other responsibilities define the day-to-day habits of a tax accountant, as they prepare paperwork, file documents, and advise strategies that help clients maximize their tax returns.

What Certifications Does a Tax Accountant Need?

Tax accountants commonly need to hold a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. Passing this exam proves that you are capable of practicing the fundamentals of accounting for your clients.

What Education Does a Tax Accountant Need?

Students will need to satisfy a few educational requirements before they can begin fulfilling accounting careers. First, you’ll need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting, or a closely related field. This program helps you develop a solid knowledge of the accounting industry, fostering skills like auditing, business ethics, and employment law.

You can further your education by obtaining a master’s degree in accounting. You’ll deepen your understanding of fields like financial accounting, strategic management, and advanced tax concepts. You’ll be prepared to sit for the certified public accountant exam. This knowledge and other skills will help you fulfill all the necessary responsibilities of a tax accountant.

Best Degrees for Tax Accountants

Accounting – B.S. Business Administration

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 41 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Accounting manager
  • Financial director
  • Vice president of finance and operations
  • Chief financial officer
  • Forensic accountant

Take your first step toward CPA certification and learn how to use GAAP, ledgers, and journals.

Accounting – M.S.

Become better qualified to pursue a greater variety of public...

Become better qualified to pursue a greater...

Become better qualified to pursue a greater variety of public and private accounting positions:

  • Time: 70% of grads finish within 23 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Accountant
  • Accounting manager
  • Internal audit manager
  • Senior accountant
  • Other specialized finance roles

This MAcc program is designed to prepare you for the CPA exam and also the CMA or CIA exams.

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What Skills Does a Tax Accountant Need?

Tax accountants put a variety of skills to work. Whether they’re filing documents or communicating with clients, an accountant’s skill set is optimized to ensure continued compliance with all tax regulations.

The skills a tax accountant needs include:

  • Financial management. The ability to appropriately manage a company’s financial portfolio, particularly any financial aspects that will ensure smooth tax procedures.
  • Compliance. The ability to examine a company’s financial procedures in light of current legal parameters.
  • Interpersonal communication. The ability to correspond effectively with members of a company’s financial and accounting departments, in addition to any other company representatives and executives.
  • Problem-solving. The ability to identify and overcome any issues that a company’s tax situation might present.
  • Technological proficiency. The ability to fully use any devices and platforms that benefit an accounting department, including all computers, tablets, phones, and online programs.
  • Data reporting. The ability to gather, protect, analyze, and report on tax data in ways that company executives can understand and learn from.

How Much Does a Tax Accountant Make?


The exact income of a tax accountant depends on several factors, including your employer, employer’s location, years of experience, education, and active certifications. In general, the annual salary of a tax accountant averages $57,780, with a range of roughly $45,000 to $76,000.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


Tax accountant careers are expected to enjoy a favorable outlook over the next decade. Employment for accountants is expected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, a growth rate roughly the same as the average across all occupations. As economies grow and change, the demand for qualified tax accountants should increase. Particularly in industries where tax laws may evolve, tax accounts will remain busy helping companies to fully comply with ongoing changes.

Where Do Tax Accountants Work?


Tax accountants work in several different locations. Some tax accountants are contracted by specific clients to assist with tax procedures. Other tax accountants are employed by companies internally, to work alongside their financial and accounting departments.

Tax accountants work for:

-Financial firms

-Private tax companies 

-Nonprofit organizations

-Banking institutions

-Government organizations

-Healthcare organizations

-IT providers

-Insurance agencies

Interested in Becoming a Tax Accountant?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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