What Does A Tax Preparer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Tax Preparers

Tax Preparers prepare tax returns for individuals or small businesses.

Salary
$52710
Becoming One
Medium
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Tax Preparers prepare tax returns for individuals or small businesses.

  • Interview clients to obtain additional information on taxable income and deductible expenses and allowances.
  • Use all appropriate adjustments, deductions, and credits to keep clients’ taxes to a minimum.
  • Prepare or assist in preparing simple to complex tax returns for individuals or small businesses.
  • Compute taxes owed or overpaid, using adding machines or personal computers, and complete entries on forms, following tax form instructions and tax tables.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Tax Preparers use all appropriate adjustments, deductions, and credits to keep clients’ taxes to a minimum. They answer questions and provide future tax planning to clients.

A typical day for a Tax Preparer will also include:

  • Review financial records such as income statements and documentation of expenditures to determine forms needed to prepare tax returns.
  • Explain federal and state tax laws to individuals and companies.
  • Compute taxes owed or overpaid, using adding machines or personal computers, and complete entries on forms, following tax form instructions and tax tables.
  • Furnish taxpayers with sufficient information and advice to ensure correct tax form completion.
  • Prepare or assist in preparing simple to complex tax returns for individuals or small businesses.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Tax Preparers also consult tax law handbooks or bulletins to determine procedures for the preparation of atypical returns. They may also answer questions and provide future tax planning to clients.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Tax Preparers calculate form preparation fees according to return complexity and processing time required. They might also check data input or verify totals on forms prepared by others to detect errors in arithmetic, data entry, or procedures.

In addition, they use all appropriate adjustments, deductions, and credits to keep clients’ taxes to a minimum.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them explain federal and state tax laws to individuals and companies.

To some Tax Preparers, it is also their responsibility to interview clients to obtain additional information on taxable income and deductible expenses and allowances.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Average

Is this job meaningful

Low

68% said they were satisfied with their job and 35% said they found their job meaningful.


Dmytro Serheeiv
Self-employed

My name is Dmytro Serheeiv. I’m a professional tax specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the private, public accounting, and government sectors. I’m currently a self-employed tax consultant and the leading tax consultant at PDFLiner.

My typical day

I had a small office near the central IRS department in my city, where both individuals and businesses came to me to receive instant consultations and direct tax assistance.

The typical day at the office included meeting individuals and entrepreneurs in random order and amount. it’s totally impossible to predict how many clients you will have during the day because all people have different tax profiles. However, I always expect to spend nights and days at the office when the tax day comes. Hordes of people start feeling nervous about their taxes and literally run to me in sweat to get quick help without complications. I even hire 1-2 assistants from the state’s tax law university to get help and provide them with intensive practice all at once.

Now I process all the requests online due to the pandemic. The entire workflow has become moderately paced and virtually non-emotional as I rarely meet people face to face to get access to their documentation. I usually wake up early in the morning to reach my desk at around 7 AM and start getting through my mail to fish out all the tasks and schedule them up for the day. In most cases, I have a surplus of tasks and delegate the simplest of them to students online to pay more attention to urgent and complicated cases.

Pros

One of the biggest benefits of being a tax specialist is independence and high earning potential. Most of us start from relatively low wages but reach surprisingly high yearly checks by gaining reputation and expanding the client base. It’s also very important to remember that most of your clients will need help seasonally, which means working late hours every day by the end of each financial year.

I really enjoy getting through documentation like a knife through butter, it feels great to me. I also love to see the relief on the faces of my clients, who are usually so stressed by all those forms.

Cons

It’s probably also the biggest disadvantage of my job because nervous people don’t always formulate their needs well enough, so I have to figure out the details like a professional detective.

You also have to spend a lot of time and nerves to reach the point of financial satisfaction as clients see you as a nobody when you start. That’s why I highly recommend gaining expertise in respected companies before starting your own business in the field.

You should also be ready to invest quite a lot of money into professional software when you start working independently.

Advice for students interested in this career path

There are many tax consultants on the market. You may feel like there are too many of them and it impossible to compete, but that’s not true, actually. Work hard to gain the best field experience. Start practicing in companies from the very first year in the university and you will realize that the competition isn’t that intense for those who know more than others. Update your knowledge base all the time to keep up with the development of the niche and you will be able to provide effective help to customers and gain their trust quite easily. Customers usually return to good tax consultants, so building a client base is much easier than in, say, the real estate niche.

Dmytro Serheeiv
Tax Consultant at PDFLiner.com


Pros

Suitable for people who like to follow routines.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to work with designs.

Salary is below average.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$52710 per year

Average hourly wage

$25 per hour

Entry-level Tax Preparers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $22,090 to $29,310 per year or $11 to $14 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $93,540 $45
Senior (Top 25%) $65,960 $32
Median $44,300 $21
Junior (Bottom 25%) $29,310 $14
No experience (Bottom 10%) $22,090 $11

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Tax Preparers based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Legal Services $79100 $38.03
Management of Companies and Enterprises $64200 $30.86
Office Administrative Services $63830 $30.69
Employment Services $62370 $29.99
Computer Systems Design and Related Services $56900 $27.36
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services $56320 $27.08
Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services $54630 $26.26
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers $52650 $25.31
Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services $52240 $25.12
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities $51130 $24.58

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Tax Preparers work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Tax Preparers including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services 59950 $52240 $25.12
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services 730 $56320 $27.08
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities 470 $ $*
Management of Companies and Enterprises 110 $64200 $30.86
Employment Services 110 $62370 $29.99
Office Administrative Services 80 $63830 $30.69
Individual and Family Services 60 $50260 $24.16
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 60 $51130 $24.58
Computer Systems Design and Related Services 60 $56900 $27.36
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 50 $52650 $25.31

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
5%

40 hours
50%

More than 40 hours
45%

Working schedule

27%

9%

64%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
27%

Every day
64%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
23%

Every day
68%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
33%

Every day
57%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
55%

Once a year
36%

Once a month
9%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
5%

Slightly competitive
9%

Moderately competitive
41%

Highly competitive
23%

Extremely competitive
23%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
14%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
5%

Every day
77%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
82%

Once a year or more
18%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
95%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
5%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
95%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Medium
You will need previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an Associate’s degree, and one or two years of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Travel Agents, Agricultural Technicians, Court Reports, and Medical Assistants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
5%

High School Diploma or equivalent
32%

Post-Secondary Certificate
14%

Some College Courses
18%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
32%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Taxation

A program that prepares individuals to provide tax advice and management services to individuals and corporations. Includes instruction in tax law and regulations, tax record systems, individual and corporate income taxation, tax planning, partnerships and fiduciary relationships, estates and trusts, property depreciation, capital gains and losses, dispositions, transfers, liquidity, valuation, and applications to specific tax problems.

Accounting

A program that prepares individuals to practice the profession of accounting and to perform related business functions. Includes instruction in accounting principles and theory, financial accounting, managerial accounting, cost accounting, budget control, tax accounting, legal aspects of accounting, auditing, reporting procedures, statement analysis, planning and consulting, business information systems, accounting research methods, professional standards and ethics, and applications to specific for-profit, public, and non-profit organizations.

Accounting Technology and Bookkeeping

A program that prepares individuals to provide technical administrative support to professional accountants and other financial management personnel. Includes instruction in posting transactions to accounts, record-keeping systems, accounting software operation, and general accounting principles and practices.


Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
27%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
5%

6 months to 1 year
14%

1 to 2 years
23%

2 to 4 years
18%

4 to 6 years
9%

6 to 8 years
5%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
0%

1 month
18%

1 to 3 months
36%

3 to 6 months
14%

6 months to 1 year
23%

1 to 2 years
5%

2 to 4 years
5%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Organizer

People with this personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.

The Builder
24%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
19%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
14%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
38%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
67%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
100%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk-taking and often deal with business.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
48%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
48%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
48%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
67%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
52%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
52%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


Don’t know which career to pursue?

Take the career quiz to find careers that match your personality type.

Take The Career Quiz