Tax Accountant Job Information

Tax accountants fill a variety of roles for their clients. They act as technical tax advisers and in some cases financial managers. This is a particularly complex type of work, often involving case management for each client.

Work Environment

The basic work of a tax accountant, working with private income tax, is relatively straightforward:

  • Collection of data and information for preparing tax returns: The client provides records like group certificates, records of income received from investments, etc.
  • Checking transactions for compliance with tax laws: Not all income is taxed at the same rate. The accountant looks for exemptions or tax credits depending on the nature of the income received.
  • Calculation of income tax liabilities: The usual process of taxation assessment is to calculate a gross taxable income and tax payable.
  • Calculation of deductions: From the gross figure, deductions are made which reduce tax liabilities for the client.
  • Checking for errors in accounts: Although in most private income tax transactions are relatively simple, errors may appear in the client's financial records. The tax accountant needs to straighten these out before finalizing the tax return.
  • Checking for omissions from tax returns: Occasionally, income is left off normal financial statements but shows up in other records. This causes errors in the return, and the accountant has to clear up the situation.
  • Maintaining taxation records: Usually required by law to be kept for a statutory period.

The primary obligation of the tax accountant is to provide a service to the client which achieves maximum benefits and ensures compliance with tax laws.

Business tax is far more complex. Working with business client income tax involves:

  • Detailed knowledge of business taxation law
  • Knowledge of the client's industry
  • Understanding of corporate law
  • Knowledge of statutory obligations for business taxation reporting
  • Checking for errors in business records
  • Maintaining taxation records

The tax accountant compiles all annual financial records of a business into a tax return. Even at the basic level, business tax accountancy requires thorough competence in all facets of accounting, and knowledge of state and Federal legislation.

The tax accountant's advisory role is equally demanding. This includes:

  • Advising on the taxation issues in investments
  • Calculating tax liabilities on property and financial transactions
  • Checking the legality of taxation schemes
  • Advising regarding financial plans
  • Advising businesses regarding management of loans, credit lines and other financial situations

Tax accountants can't act as legal advisers, but they can give professional advice regarding known taxation issues.

Wages: Approximately $55,000 to $100,000 for qualified, licensed accountants. Consultants earn contract-based fees.

Hours: Usually office hours, but much more in tax return periods.

Career Environment

Most taxation accountants work as part of an organization. Some are self employed, and build a client base locally. Career progression may come through expanding a business. In some cases, taxation businesses are franchises. Taxation accountancy is a growing area of employment in the US, with nearly double the US national average growth projected for the coming decade.

The top of the profession in tax accountancy are business taxation consultants. These are experienced taxation experts, often industry specialists, who advise major corporations on a consultancy fee basis.