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Tax Preparer

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What Does it Take to Be a Tax Preparer?

Tax Preparer Job Description Prepare tax returns for individuals or small businesses.

What Do Tax Preparers Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Check data input or verify totals on forms prepared by others to detect errors in arithmetic, data entry, or procedures.
  • 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.
  • Prepare or assist in preparing simple to complex tax returns for individuals or small businesses.
  • Answer questions and provide future tax planning to clients.
  • Interview clients to obtain additional information on taxable income and deductible expenses and allowances.

Skills Needed to be a Tax Preparer

These are the skills Tax Preparers say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

  • Tax Specialist
  • Certified Income Tax Preparer (CTP)
  • Tax Associate
  • Tax Evaluator
  • Master Tax Advisor

Job Demand for Tax Preparers

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 95,900 jobs in the United States for Tax Preparer. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 10.7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 10,300 new jobs for Tax Preparer by 2026. The BLS estimates 11,500 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Tax Preparers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Tax Preparer are Tennessee, Utah, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Missouri, or Wyoming. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Tax Preparers Make A Lot Of Money?

Tax Preparers make between $20,550 and $81,720 a year.

Salary Ranges for Tax Preparers

Tax Preparers who work in New York, Massachusetts, or Colorado, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Tax Preparers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $38,520
Alaska $55,760
Arizona $39,270
Arkansas $36,240
California $57,040
Colorado $57,650
Connecticut $50,810
District of Columbia $97,070
Florida $39,020
Georgia $39,950
Hawaii $55,990
Idaho $33,220
Illinois $30,200
Indiana $40,780
Iowa $42,930
Kansas $37,320
Kentucky $37,920
Louisiana $39,590
Maine $38,270
Maryland $52,530
Massachusetts $65,670
Minnesota $50,440
Mississippi $28,770
Missouri $40,480
Montana $40,170
Nebraska $37,530
Nevada $49,030
New Hampshire $49,090
New Jersey $51,840
New Mexico $42,040
New York $63,440
North Carolina $45,460
North Dakota $53,920
Ohio $47,010
Oklahoma $42,820
Oregon $56,960
Pennsylvania $38,910
Rhode Island $41,770
South Carolina $41,000
South Dakota $42,650
Tennessee $46,670
Texas $49,750
Utah $46,470
Vermont $46,830
Virginia $34,090
Washington $38,130
West Virginia $30,910
Wisconsin $45,840
Wyoming $29,160

Tools & Technologies Used by Tax Preparers

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Tax Preparers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Sage 50 Accounting
  • Tax software
  • Intuit Quicken
  • ATX Total Accounting Office
  • Web page creation and editing software
  • Laserfiche Avante
  • Universal Tax Systems TaxWise
  • Intuit ProSeries
  • CCH ProSystem fx TAX
  • ATX Total Tax Office
  • Sync Essentials Trade Accountant

How to Become a Tax Preparer

What education or degrees do I need to become a Tax Preparer?

Tax Preparer Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Tax Preparer?

Tax Preparer Work Experience

Where do Tax Preparers Work?

Tax Preparer Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Tax Preparers employed by various industries.

Tax Preparer Industries

Those thinking about becoming a Tax Preparer might also be interested in the following careers:

Are you already one of the many Tax Preparer in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:


Image Credit: Pixabay via CC0 License

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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