Tax Preparer Career Profile

For those who are comfortable with numbers, a career as a tax preparer is a viable option. Tax preparers are also known as tax consultants. A tax preparer basically calculates the income tax due to federal, state, and local authorities based on the current tax laws. As income tax laws and rules change each year, many US citizens and residents use the services and help of a tax preparer to calculate their income tax and file their income tax returns. A tax preparer has to be in touch with the current tax laws at all times and be able to advice clients on possible avenues for rebates and discounts to the tax.

Basic Tasks

The basic tasks of a tax preparer in the United States involves the filing of tax returns after filling them in properly. For this the tax preparer uses the financial documents provided by their clients. The tax preparer needs to have a thorough knowledge of the federal, state , and local tax laws for the year in question. They have to help the clients save on taxes by alerting the clients to possible tax deductions and savings.

Work Schedule

Most parts of the year the tax preparer has a 9 to 5 job with steady working hours. Not many people will come to consult them during the lean months. However, close to tax paying time, the tax preparer will be very busy and has to put in long hours to meet the tax deadline. Expect to be very busy during this period. The flip side of all this hard work is of course the extra money that will pour in to adequately compensate you for all your hard work.

Wages

A tax preparer’s wages increase with the number of years of experience they have. A beginner commands an hourly wage of about $10. This goes up to $25 for someone with twenty years of experience. This is a great wage for some one who does not have the background or responsibilities of an accredited or certified public accountant.

Opportunities for Advancement

There are expected to be many openings for tax preparers all over the country as tax laws become more complicated. Tax preparers are also employed by many businesses to oversee their accounts. One can also become an enrolled member of the IRS by passing the requisite examination.

Basic Abilities

Apart from a very high level of comfort with numbers, a tax preparer should be able to use logic and reasoning too. They should be able to get along well with clients. They should be able to make quick judgments. Their calculations should have a high degree of accuracy. They should be able to plan and control an entire activity. They should be able to work independently and meet tight deadlines. Putting in late hours during the tax paying season is mandatory.

One can look at a tax preparer’s job as a career or as a stepping stone to becoming a CPA. Either way you will have to be very comfortable and accurate with numbers, as well as  having great people skills. A tax preparer has to be prepared to go the extra mile to meet their clients’ tax deadlines. This will often mean working late hours toward the end of the financial year.