Career Development

What Does a Tax Associate Do?

Find out what a tax associate does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a tax associate.

Tax associates are the junior-level employees in a tax firm. They typically work directly with senior tax professionals and may be involved in all aspects of tax preparation, including research, planning, and compliance.

Tax associates must have strong knowledge of tax law to do their job effectively. They also need excellent communication skills to interact with clients and other staff members.

Tax Associate Job Duties

Tax associates typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Preparing returns by inputting data into tax preparation software and reviewing results to ensure accuracy
  • Reviewing individual tax filings to determine if additional information or documentation is needed before processing
  • Preparing tax returns for individuals or businesses by gathering information about income, deductions, credits, and other factors that affect tax liability
  • Handling complex tax issues that require technical knowledge of the tax code
  • Preparing tax returns for individuals or businesses by gathering information about income, deductions, credits, and other factors that affect tax liability
  • Researching tax laws, court cases, and other legal precedents to help prepare cases for court
  • Communicating with clients throughout the tax filing process to answer questions about their tax liabilities and provide updates on their status
  • Reviewing past tax returns to ensure compliance with current laws and regulations
  • Calculating tax liability based on rules set forth by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Tax Associate Salary & Outlook

Tax associate salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $62,500 ($30.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of tax associates is expected to decline over the next decade.

Tax law is complex, and tax rates and policies are subject to change. As a result, tax specialists will be needed to advise clients on how changes in tax policy affect their businesses or personal finances. However, tax planning will become more important as tax rates and policies become less predictable.

Related: In-Depth Tax Associate Salary Guide

Tax Associate Job Requirements

Tax associates typically need to have the following:

Education: Most employers require tax associates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or another closely related field. Some employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in accounting or business administration with a concentration in accounting.

Training & Experience: Tax associates typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other experienced tax professionals. This training helps the tax associate learn the specific processes and procedures of the company. They also learn how to use the company’s software and computer systems.

Tax associates can also receive training through internships. During an internship, a tax associate gains experience in the field of taxation. They learn how to perform the duties of a tax professional and can apply the knowledge they learned in school to real-world scenarios.

Certifications & Licenses: While a certification is not necessary for an entry-level tax associate position, earning one can demonstrate your dedication to your career and increase your earning potential.

Tax Associate Skills

Tax associates need the following skills in order to be successful:

Accounting skills: Accounting skills are a necessary skill for tax associates. These skills allow you to understand the financial aspects of taxes and how to calculate them. Accounting skills can also help you understand the tax code and how to interpret it.

Communication skills: Communication skills are also important in a tax associate position. You may be required to communicate with clients, other tax associates and managers, so it’s important to be able to do so effectively. You can use your communication skills to explain complex financial information to clients and to explain tax laws to other tax associates.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is the ability to notice small changes in information. As an associate in a tax firm, you may be responsible for entering data into a spreadsheet or filing paperwork. Having good attention to detail can help you complete tasks accurately and efficiently.

Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills are essential for tax associates, as they help you find solutions to complex tax issues. You can use these skills to help clients understand their tax obligations and find ways to pay their taxes. You can also use problem-solving skills to find ways to reduce clients’ tax liabilities.

Organizational skills: Organization skills can help you be more efficient in your work and complete tasks on time. As an associate, you may be responsible for entering data, maintaining records and filing paperwork. Having strong organizational skills can help you complete your tasks in a timely manner and ensure you don’t make any mistakes.

Tax Associate Work Environment

Tax associates work in the tax department of accounting firms, corporations, or government agencies. They prepare tax returns, research tax laws, and represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Tax associates usually work a standard 40-hour week, but they may work longer hours during tax season (January 1-April 15). Some tax associates travel to meet with clients or to attend conferences. Tax associates may experience a high level of stress because of the complex nature of the work and the deadlines they must meet.

Tax Associate Trends

Here are three trends influencing how tax associates work. Tax associates will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Tax Preparation

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in tax preparation is becoming increasingly popular as it can help to automate many of the more tedious tasks involved in preparing taxes. This allows tax professionals to focus on more important tasks, such as providing advice and guidance to their clients.

As AI becomes more prevalent in the tax preparation industry, tax associates will need to learn how to use these tools in order to stay competitive. They will also need to be familiar with the latest changes in the tax code in order to ensure that they are providing their clients with the most accurate information possible.

More Focus on International Tax Planning

As businesses become more globalized, the need for tax planning has increased. This is because businesses now have a greater number of locations where they operate, which means that they are subject to a wider range of tax laws.

Tax associates who are able to understand the complex international tax landscape will be in high demand, as they will be able to help businesses reduce their tax burden by finding loopholes and other ways to minimize their tax liability.

A Greater Emphasis on Cybersecurity

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals will continue to grow. This is because cyberattacks are becoming more common, and if businesses do not have adequate protection, they could suffer significant financial losses.

Tax associates can capitalize on this trend by becoming certified in cybersecurity. This will make them more valuable to employers and give them the skills needed to protect businesses from cyberattacks.

How to Become a Tax Associate

A career as an tax associate can be a great way to get started in the accounting field. As a tax associate, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of taxation and gain experience working with clients. You’ll also work closely with more experienced accountants, which will give you the chance to learn from their expertise.

As you progress in your career, you may want to consider becoming a certified public accountant (CPA). This certification requires passing a series of exams on accounting topics. It’s important to note that this is not a requirement for most jobs in accounting; however, it can help you stand out when applying for jobs or promotions.

Related: How to Write a Tax Associate Resume

Advancement Prospects

Tax associates typically start their careers in entry-level positions. As they gain experience and knowledge, they may be promoted to senior tax associate or manager. Some tax associates may eventually become partners in their firms.

In order to advance in their careers, tax associates need to continuously update their skills and knowledge. They should also be active in professional organizations, such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and participate in continuing education courses.

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