How to Get a Job as a Tax Examiner

John Krautzel
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As long as people work and pay taxes, the world will need tax examiners. A tax examiner works for a federal, state, or local government, reviewing tax returns, identifying how much in taxes a private citizen or business owes, conducting audits, and collecting overdue tax payments. Tax examiner responsibilities are essentially the same at each level of government, though more advanced job skills and understanding are expected for higher-level positions.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, a tax examiner typically needs a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field to be considered for employment. The level of education you need depends highly upon employer preferences; in some instances, you can apply for an entry-level position as a tax examiner before you graduate. This allows you to pursue your degree in accounting while working and accruing the experience you need for greater opportunities in the accounting field. 

While the job skills required for a position as a tax examiner may vary from one employer to another, all examiners should have existing computer skills as well as the ability to learn new computer applications. Technology in the accounting and tax field changes often, so computer literacy will come in handy. If you apply for a job on the federal level, keep in mind that you'll be subjected to a background check, so a clean financial and criminal record is imperative.

As a tax examiner, you must be extremely organized and able to work independently. You must also be an effective communicator who can fairly negotiate with irate individuals. Employers will typically provide formal on-the-job training, but to succeed as a tax examiner, you need to have experience that can't necessarily be learned in school—for instance, the ability to remain calm under pressure. This skill set can pay well: the average annual salary for a tax examiner in the US is $58,644.

To find a job as a tax examiner, take a look at your local and state government websites. Most sites provide job listings for available accounting jobs. You may be able to submit an application online, by mail, or in person. To apply at the federal level, check with the Internal Revenue Service. Search the IRS website, or find a local office near you to fill out an application. The IRS also offers seasonal and temporary job opportunities for those still in school.

Tax examiner demand remains steady at the moment, but government policy changes regarding tax enforcement may create new jobs in the future. If you are extremely organized and detail oriented with a knack for communication, you can find plenty of job opportunities to choose from.


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