Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents

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Also known as:
City Collector, Customs Appraiser, Income Tax Adjuster, Internal Revenue Agent, Internal Revenue Service Agent, Revenue Collector, Revenue Enforcement Agent, Tax Compliance Officer, Tax Compliance Representative, Tax Examiner

Video transcript

Tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents perform different and overlapping jobs to make sure citizens pay their fair share. They work at different levels of government, from rural town halls to towering federal office buildings. They use accounting, legal, and interpersonal skills every day to maintain the tax rolls.

Tax collectors oversee the billing and collecting of taxes, usually on a local level. Even with the help of computers, this task can create mountains of paperwork. They work with taxpayers to resolve delinquent tax bills.

Examiners and revenue agents pore over tax returns and other paperwork to check accounting methods and to decide on whether taxpayers and businesses have complied with very complicated tax laws. If an audit is needed, the revenue agent meets with taxpayers and their representatives to resolve discrepancies and at times, to revise their tax bill.

Qualifications for each position vary according to local laws or agency policies. In some states, tax collectors can be appointed or elected. But in general, employers look for a bachelor's degree or management experience.

Tax and revenue professionals are not often praised in our popular culture, so other qualifications include a sense of purpose, self-confidence, and the awareness that every community depends on taxes and revenues to provide services to the public. This work is vital to the national interest.

Determine tax liability or collect taxes from individuals or business firms according to prescribed laws and regulations.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Notify taxpayers of any overpayment or underpayment, and either issue a refund or request further payment.

Impose payment deadlines on delinquent taxpayers and monitor payments to ensure that deadlines are met.

Check tax forms to verify that names and taxpayer identification numbers are correct, that computations have been performed correctly, or that amounts match those on supporting documentation.

Maintain knowledge of tax code changes, and of accounting procedures and theory to properly evaluate financial information.

Collect taxes from individuals or businesses according to prescribed laws and regulations.

Contact taxpayers by mail or telephone to address discrepancies and to request supporting documentation.

Answer questions from taxpayers and assist them in completing tax forms.

Maintain records for each case, including contacts, telephone numbers, and actions taken.

Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Economics and Accounting Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.