How to Become a Tax Examiner
Tax Examiner Careers & Degrees

Tax examiners have an important job in the tax industry; they make sure all filed tax returns and paperwork have been completed according to federal and state laws.

For the most part, these professionals work for a local, state or federal government.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 98% of all Tax Examiners work for a government institution.

The remaining 2% of Tax Examiners are self employed.

A Tax Examiner gets involved in the taxing process after a return has been filed.

Their responsibilities are similar throughout government units.

These professionals basically proof a filer’s return to see whether they did the math correctly and check to see whether any credits and deductions listed on the forms are according to state or federal law.

If you are interested in this type of career, consider the following options as alternative tracks.

The following positions are similar careers in the tax industry:

  • Tax collectors
  • Revenue agents
  • Tax specialists
  • Tax professionals

Continue reading below to learn some basic information on how to become a Tax Examiner .

Also included below is a general job description, wage and salary information as well as the industry’s future outlook.

Education Requirements to Become a Tax Examiner

The majority of professionals in the tax industry have an advanced degree; candidates should pursue a Bachelor’s degree.

Competitive candidates will have a combination of experience as well as an advanced degree.

Students who want to become a Tax Examiner should focus their studies in Accounting or a related field.

Candidates who want to become a Tax Examiner and work for the IRS must complete a bachelor’s degree and have at least one year of experience working in the field.

During their undergraduate studies, students should take courses that will prepare them for working in the tax industry.

These courses may include: Accounting, tax analysis and bookkeeping.

Tax Examiners must take continuing education classes in order to keep current with tax laws.

In addition candidates who want to become a Tax Examiner must be highly reliable workers.

This is due to their constant work with taxpayer’s personal information such as social security numbers and date of births.

Tax Examiner Job Description

Tax Examiners do a final review of a filer’s tax return in order to ensure accuracy; for the most part, these professionals work with simple tax returns.

This final review needs to be completed for several reasons: in order to send tax refunds for people who over-payed , to make sure a tax payer has fulfilled all tax payments during the tax year and to make sure people aren’t cheating on their taxes and taking inappropriate deductions and credits.

Federal Tax Examiners who review a taxpayer’s return and find any discrepancies will need to report them to the state in which they were residents in for the tax year.

This is because taxpayers file state returns according to information on their federal return.

A Tax Examiner working for a state government would then take this information to verify whether any federal changes have affected the taxpayer’s state tax liability.

Tax Examiners who are at the entry level will have additional administrative obligations such as entering information and changes into a computer program.

Other obligations include confirming whether social security numbers match with names on the tax returns and communicating with taxpayers regarding issues.

Tax Examiner Salary and Career Path

Tax Examiner and similar careers are expected to grow by approximately 13% through the year 2018.

This growth is considered average when compared to other careers.

This growth is attributed to changes in government policy as well as from businesses providing tax services.

Higher growth for Tax Examiners is affected by the fact that their work is susceptible to faster computer programs that have become more efficient.

However, this will be offset by Tax Examiners preparing to retire throughout the decade.

The national median wage in 2008 for Tax Examiners and all related positions was $42,000 per year.

The salary range is $28,390 to $89,630.

Exact wage will depend on the specialty and years of experience as well as the sector a Tax Examiner goes into.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$60,960
$33K
$41K
$60K
$76K
$101K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$58,860
Alaska$91,690
Arizona$77,530
Arkansas$58,080
California$69,090
Colorado$68,170
Connecticut$85,920
Delaware$62,050
Florida$46,520
Georgia$53,300
Hawaii$72,490
Idaho$55,280
Illinois$71,450
Indiana$53,830
Iowa$66,530
Kansas$80,590
Kentucky$49,630
Louisiana$52,070
Maine$56,180
Maryland$63,670
Massachusetts$70,120
Michigan$72,750
Minnesota$65,340
Mississippi$47,760
Missouri$48,280
Montana$59,530
Nebraska$58,580
New Hampshire$55,110
New Jersey$77,980
New Mexico$49,250
New York$71,060
North Carolina$61,440
North Dakota$63,850
Ohio$67,440
Oklahoma$49,770
Oregon$59,030
Pennsylvania$47,580
Rhode Island$72,650
South Carolina$55,250
Tennessee$56,270
Texas$58,110
Utah$48,550
Vermont$59,460
Virginia$54,170
Washington$65,010
West Virginia$49,420
Wisconsin$62,190
Puerto Rico$25,100

The top earning state in the field is Alaska, where the average salary is $91,690.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Alaska - $91,690
Connecticut - $85,920
Kansas - $80,590
New Jersey - $77,980
Arizona - $77,530
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents, OCC Code 13-2081, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a tax examiner do?

A tax examiner is someone who checks state, federal, and local tax returns that were filed by small businesses and individuals.

Tax examiners contact the taxpayers to let them know if they have underpaid or overpaid and discuss any problems on their returns.

The majority of the specialists work for the federal government (the Internal Revenue Service, in most cases).

A tax examiner can work in an office or visit the taxpayers at their home.

The typical responsibilities of the specialists usually include evaluating all available information and taking corrective actions; recognizing indications of tax fraud; obtaining information from taxpayers; providing assistance on inquiries initiated by taxpayers, and so on.

QuestionHow much do tax examiners make?

On average, a tax examiner can make a little less than $50.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to choose this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $32.000 and $98.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the location, the number of clients, and so on.

Tax examiners that work in New York, Texas, and Connecticut, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level tax examiner can earn around $13 per hour, while a top-level specialist with plenty of experience can make $25 and more.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a tax examiner?

You would need a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, in order to become a tax examiner.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

The tax examiners that have experience in supervisory or managerial roles can, later on, seek career advancement.

QuestionWhat is the demand for tax examiners?

The tax examiner job market is expected to shrink by 2% between 2018 and 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is close to the national average for all occupations in the United States.

The employment certainly does depend on the state, federal, and local government budgets; however, in the near future, it will be possible to perform the work of a tax examiner with the help of computer technology.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a tax examiner?

You would need 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field.

In case you want to work for the Internal Revenue Service, you would need to possess a bachelor’s degree or a year of full-time specialized experience (tax analysis, accounting or similar work).

As soon as you get hired, you will receive special training that typically lasts anywhere between a month and a year.

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