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Tax Associate Career and Salary Profile

Tax associates assist individuals and businesses with federal and state income tax compliance and preparation. These professionals, who may also be known as tax preparers or tax specialists, are often employed by financial services companies and accounting firms, although some are self-employed.

Launching a career as a tax associate may require earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field.

Job Outlook for Tax Associates

Demand for tax professionals can vary based on several factors, including the strength of the overall economy, the introduction of new tax, revenue and financial regulations, and changes to local, state and federal budgets.

Employment opportunities may be brighter for tax associates with specialized training, professional credentials or advanced educational qualifications. In the public accounting field, job candidates with tax experience are in particular demand and have increasing salaries, according to the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide for Accounting & Finance.

Tax Associate Job Duties

Tax associates assist in the preparation of corporate, partnership and individual tax returns, keeping clients or employers in compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations. Tax associates interview clients regarding income and expenses, and review income statements, expenditure documentation and other financial records.

They seek to keep clients’ tax liability to a minimum through the use of appropriate adjustments and deductions. Researching tax issues and providing related documentation are also regular job duties for these professionals.

Tax associates may use sophisticated tax preparation software and applications. Some may be hired by large businesses or organizations to work in accounting or payroll departments, ensuring proper tax setups and deductions.

Potential Salary for Tax Associates

Numerous factors determine an individual’s earning potential, including work history and educational qualifications, as well as regional market conditions, and the type and size of employer.

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report salary data for tax associates, the federal agency lists an average annual wage of $45,340 for tax preparers nationwide as of May 2016.

In general, recent bachelor’s graduates will start out toward the lower end of a salary range but can increase their earning potential with additional professional experience and advanced educational credentials. For example, the Robert Half guide lists a $61,750-81,750 2017 salary range for tax services professionals with 1-3 years of experience at midsize firms.

Education and Training

Tax associate jobs may require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. However, some employers may prefer applicants with an MBA degree in accounting or finance, or equivalent professional credentials.

Coursework in a bachelor’s in accounting program can include statistics, economics, finance and public administration. Graduates of an accounting education program should be able to:

  • Accurately establish accounting information systems and tax preparation procedures
  • Use computers and specialized software to prepare and file tax returns
  • Analyze corporate and individual taxation, trust tax and estate tax systems
  • Adhere to the latest tax regulations and standards

Is a Tax Associate Career a Good Choice for You?

Tax associates should be detail-oriented and effective communicators who possess a variety of skills, such as critical-thinking, decision-making and problem-solving. Individuals with these attributes who are attracted to the prospect of working each day with numbers and tax laws can prepare themselves for a career as a tax associate by attaining a bachelor’s in accounting.

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