What is a Tax Examiner?

If you are looking for a government job within the accounting or finance industry, then you may be considering becoming a tax examiner. Within all levels of government, tax examiners are hired to ensure individuals and business are paying the taxes they owe and are properly filing their tax returns in an accurate manner. In addition to checking taxpayers’ math to determine the factual basis for claims and refunds, tax examiners ensure that all personal information matches records as well. As a result, tax examiners must have strong analytical, computer, interpersonal, and organizational skills to verify the accuracy of each entry on tax returns. In order to determine whether this is the right career path for you, read on to receive a full job description for tax examiners.

What Tax Examiners Do

On the typical work day, tax examiners can be found reviewing filed tax returns, contacting taxpayers to address problems, conducting audits or investigations of income tax returns to verify data, evaluating financial information to tax regulations, keeping detailed records of their cases, and notifying taxpayers of overpayment or underpayment when needed. Unlike revenue agents who are responsible for handling more complex tax returns for large corporations, tax examiners generally deal with the simplest tax returns filed by individuals or small businesses. At the entry level, tax examiners may also be tasked with clerical duties, including entering data on tax returns into computer systems.

Where Tax Examiners Work

As of May 2012, there were an estimated 69,500 jobs for tax examiners and revenue agents around the United States alone. While the highest percentage (46 percent) of these professionals was employed through the federal government, tax examiners were also working for state and local government agencies. Many tax examiners decide to apply their accounting expertise for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which offers full-time, seasonal, and part-time job opportunities in various cities around the nation. Most work primarily in an office setting to review tax returns and correspond with taxpayers about missing or inaccurate information. Tax examiners may also be employed to spend most of their time traveling to taxpayers’ homes or business places in order to conduct field audits.

How to Become a Tax Examiner

In order to become successful in the taxation field, it is typically required that examiners have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a closely related discipline. In some cases, a combination of relevant education at the associate’s degree level and specialized work experience in accounting, auditing, or taxation will qualify individuals at the state or local levels. For the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), new tax examiners are required to have an accredited bachelor’s degree or one year of full-time specialized accounting experience. Once hired, most tax examiners will receive formal on-the-job training that may last from one month to one year to fully understand tax code and enforcement procedures.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of tax examiners and revenue agents is projected to decline by four percent, thus cutting approximately 2,700 jobs before 2022. Despite budget reductions causing a decrease in hiring for government agencies, job cuts for tax examiners will be less severe than those in many other occupations concentrated in government. If you choose to become a tax examiner, you will likely have the best job prospects in reviewing filed tax returns for local and state governments.