Tax accountants need to be skilled in analysis, math, and deciphering complex laws. Some days on the job may be repetitive, such as filling out tax forms, but there are always new problems to solve. A tax accountant helps her clients by analyzing tax laws and the client's financial situation to find ways to increase tax refunds or save money. Tax accountants may work for individuals, businesses, universities or other organizations.
The main objective of a tax accountant is to file an accurate and complete tax return for her client. This requires a thorough knowledge of IRS tax law, which changes every year. Tax accounts want to file thorough tax returns on a timely basis in order to avoid fines or interest charges on missed tax payments.
Deductions vs. Red Flags
One of the tax accountants' main objectives is walking the fine line between deductions and raising red flags with the IRS. Individuals and businesses qualify for a variety of deductions and credits depending on their life situation. Sometimes these can get complicated and require a trained tax accountant to know all the possible options. However, certain deductions can also raise red flags with the IRS and increase a person's chance of being chosen for a tax audit. An audit is a time-consuming review of a person's financial accounts from the past three years. Choosing between a possible deduction or lessening the risk of an audit is not always easy and requires an experienced, trained eye.
Tax accountants work with a variety of businesses. Each business has a different set of tax rules it needs to follow. Self-employed individuals have a self-employment tax and must file quarterly estimated tax payments. Companies with employees have to keep proper payment records, deduct Social Security from paychecks and send tax forms to their employees at the beginning of each year. Corporations have issues concerning stocks and shareholders. Partnerships, LLCs, LLPs and other business forms all have unique tax needs. A tax accountant must know how to apply the rules to each type of business she works for and ensure all taxes are filed correctly and completely.
Education and Qualifications
The requirements to be a tax accountant vary. A tax accountant needs at least a bachelor's degree, usually in accounting. Some states require tax accountants to have tax accountant certifications. For the highest-paying job opportunities and to be able to file with the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission), some tax accounts get a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) license. The requirements vary by state, but usually involve having a master's degree in accounting or an undergraduate degree plus a certain amount of work experience. In all states, the applicants must pass a CPA examination prepared by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images