Tax Preparers

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Also known as:
Corporate Tax Preparer, Income Tax Advisor, Income Tax Preparer, Licensed Tax Consultant, Tax Consultant, Tax Specialist

See all Finance Careers.

ABOUT TAX PREPARER CAREERS
Video transcript

Most Americans dread their annual income tax returns. The exceptions are the men and women who have made tax form preparation their occupation. Tax preparers take information from clients and fill out the forms. Some do it manually, others use computers.

Most tax preparers work on personal income tax forms. Business returns require more experience, college education, professional credentials, and supervision by controllers or certified public accountants. Tax preparers need a high school diploma or equivalent. The work demands attention to detail, mathematical ability, good penmanship and computer literacy.

Large tax preparation firms offer courses for seasonal candidates. The equivalent of a college course on taxes, they review changes to taxpayer obligations and deductions. The work of tax preparers is usually seasonal, requiring long hours between February 1st and April 15th.

Most tax preparers have other careers and some are college students or retirees. If you are looking for a seasonal job and have an aptitude for math or accounting, consider a job as a tax preparer.

SNAPSHOT
Prepare tax returns for individuals or small businesses.
Leadership
LOW
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Calculate form preparation fees according to return complexity and processing time required.

Use all appropriate adjustments, deductions, and credits to keep clients' taxes to a minimum.

Consult tax law handbooks or bulletins to determine procedures for preparation of atypical returns.

Explain federal and state tax laws to individuals and companies.

Interview clients to obtain additional information on taxable income and deductible expenses and allowances.

Schedule appointments with clients.

Compute taxes owed or overpaid, using adding machines or personal computers, and complete entries on forms, following tax form instructions and tax tables.

Review financial records, such as income statements and documentation of expenditures to determine forms needed to prepare tax returns.

Check data input or verify totals on forms prepared by others to detect errors in arithmetic, data entry, or procedures.

Prepare or assist in preparing simple to complex tax returns for individuals or small businesses.

Furnish taxpayers with sufficient information and advice to ensure correct tax form completion.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
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.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
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.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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.
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.
TOP SKILLS
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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.
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.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.