Tax Preparer Salary
Job Description for Tax Preparer
A tax preparer assists an individual, a company, or organization in setting up and writing an accurate income tax return to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year. Preparers must make sure the entity for which the tax forms are being prepared pays the lowest taxes allowed by law; they must do this while ensuring that any deductions, exemptions, or claims adhere to current tax laws.Read More...
This job is often seasonal in the U.S., with preparers normally working during the winter months from December (the last month of the tax year) through April (when taxes are due) into May (for late filers). As the filing deadline date of April 15 gets closer tax preparers who work primarily with individuals or families may find their workload greatly increasing. While preparers may be busy only a few hours of a workday in January or February, by the end of March, they may find themselves working 12-hour days.
Tax preparers must be fluent on computers and with the latest preparation software for their company. They must also be excellent communicators, able to work with clients in a cordial, friendly, and professional manner. As tax laws change year to year in the U.S., preparers must also keep abreast of current laws and rules that apply for the coming year’s preparation forms.
The education and certification requirements for a tax preparer vary. For companies that handle corporate accounts, their tax preparers may need an bachelor's degree in accounting and be a registered Certified Public Accountant (CPA). For preparers doing work for individuals and families, sometimes the education requirement is a high school education, as long as experience and training are sufficient to perform the job accurately. In some states, such as California, tax preparers must possess state-recognized certification.
Tax Preparer Tasks
- Examine receipts, paystubs, and other documentation to fill out financial forms.
- Apply deductions and credits according to regulations.
- Fill out, complete, and submit tax returns.
Common Career Paths for Tax Preparer
Tax Preparers who transition into a Tax Manager role may receive large pay increases as the latter position pays an average $92K per year. The most common next step for a Tax Preparer is to become an Enrolled Agent or a Senior Tax Accountant. The former position pays an additional $17K per year on average, and the latter position pays $36K more per year.
Tax Preparer Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Tax Preparer
H&R Block, Liberty Tax Services, Inc., Jackson Hewitt Tax Services, Inc, H & R Block, and HR Block are some prominent firms with considerable interest in employing a large team of Tax Preparers. Although H & R Block boasts the highest average salary in town at $25K, employee compensation still varies greatly — workers can make as little as $17K or as much as $55K.
Popular Skills for Tax Preparer
Tax Preparers seem to require a number of specific skills. Most notably, facility with Intuit QuickBooks, Quickbooks, and Accounting are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 56 percent, 23 percent, and 21 percent, respectively. Data Entry and Customer Service, on the other hand, are typically associated with much lower pay. It is often found that people who know Customer Service are also skilled in Tax Compliance.
Pay by Experience Level for Tax Preparer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Tax Preparers who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $25K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $31K. Tax Preparers with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $38K. Tax Preparers with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $41K.
Pay Difference by Location
San Francisco offers some of the highest pay in the country for Tax Preparers, 74 percent above the national average. Tax Preparers will also find cushy salaries in Cleveland (+35 percent), New York (+34 percent), Seattle (+32 percent), and Houston (+28 percent). Pittsburgh ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 13 percent below the national average. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are San Antonio (13 percent less) and Chicago (4 percent less).