17 Tax Preparer Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a tax preparer, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

As tax preparer, you would be responsible for preparing and filing tax returns for individuals and businesses. This is a critical role in the U.S. economy, as tax preparers play a vital role in ensuring that taxpayers receive the refunds and credits to which they are entitled.

If you’re looking for a career in tax preparation, it’s important to be prepared for the interview. In this guide, you’ll find common interview questions and answers for tax preparers. You’ll also learn what employers are looking for in a candidate, and what to do if you don’t have experience in the field.

Common Tax Preparer Interview Questions

Are you familiar with the tax laws in this area?

Employers may ask this question to see if you are familiar with the tax laws in their state. They want to make sure that you can complete accurate returns for their clients and avoid any penalties or audits. In your answer, explain how you researched the tax laws of the area before applying for the job. Show them that you have a basic understanding of the tax laws and can do your own research when needed.

Example: “I am very familiar with the tax laws in this area. I did some research on the tax laws here before applying for this position. I found out that there is an additional tax credit available for families who have children under the age of five. This was something I had not heard about before, so I looked into it further. I learned that this credit could save my client thousands of dollars each year.”

What are the most important qualities for a tax preparer?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your qualifications for the job. They want to know what you value in a tax preparer and how those qualities relate to their company. In your answer, explain which skills are most important for a tax preparer and why they’re important. You can also mention any of these skills that you possess.

Example: “The most important quality for a tax preparer is accuracy. Tax laws change every year, so it’s crucial that a tax preparer knows all the current rules and regulations. I am very detail-oriented, so I make sure to double-check my work before submitting it to clients. Another important quality is communication. Clients often have questions or concerns about their taxes, so I always try to be available to answer them.”

How would you describe the relationship between the IRS and tax preparers?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the relationship between tax preparers and the IRS. This is an important topic for tax preparers, as they must follow all IRS regulations when preparing taxes. In your answer, explain how you understand the relationship between these two entities and what it means for tax preparers.

Example: “The IRS has a very close relationship with tax preparers because we are the ones who actually file their clients’ taxes. The IRS provides us with guidelines on how to complete our work, but ultimately, we are responsible for filing accurate returns. I take my role seriously and always make sure that I am following all IRS rules and regulations.”

What is your experience with preparing business tax returns?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with preparing tax returns for businesses. Use your answer to highlight any relevant skills or experiences you have that will benefit this role, such as knowledge of business deductions and credits.

Example: “I’ve prepared several business tax returns in my previous positions, including sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations. I am familiar with calculating taxes on income, payroll, sales and property. In my last position, I helped a small business owner file his personal and business tax returns. He was able to deduct many expenses from his business return, which lowered his overall tax liability.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to provide additional guidance to a client in order to complete their tax return.

Interviewers ask this question to learn more about your customer service skills and how you interact with clients. They want to know that you can provide excellent customer service while also ensuring the accuracy of their tax returns.

Example: “I once had a client who was self-employed, so I needed to make sure they understood all of the deductions and credits they were eligible for. The client was very nervous about filing taxes on their own, but I made sure to explain everything in detail and answer any questions they had. In the end, they felt much more confident about completing their taxes and filed them successfully.”

If a client came to you with a question about their tax liability, how would you go about answering it?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you interact with clients and whether you have a strong customer service orientation. Showcase your interpersonal skills, communication skills and ability to explain complex concepts in simple terms.

Example: “I would first make sure that I understood exactly what they were asking about. Then, I would try to answer their question as simply as possible while still being thorough. If there are any tax laws or regulations that apply to their situation, I would be sure to include those details so my client understands why they owe what they do.”

What would you do if you noticed an error in a previous tax return you prepared?

This question can help interviewers understand how you respond to challenges and errors. Your answer should show that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions, learn from mistakes and correct them in the future.

Example: “If I noticed an error on a tax return I prepared, I would first apologize to my client for the mistake. Then, I would contact the IRS or state agency responsible for collecting taxes to inform them of the error. I would also work with my client to file an amended tax return to fix the issue. In the future, I would make sure to double-check all calculations before submitting any tax returns.”

How well do you perform under pressure?

Employers ask this question to see how you react when the deadline is approaching. They want to know that you can work quickly and efficiently under pressure, but also make sure your work is accurate. In your answer, explain that you are a fast worker who makes sure all of your work is correct. Show them that you have experience working under tight deadlines in the past.

Example: “I am very organized and efficient with my time. I always meet deadlines and rarely need extra time to complete my work. When I do, I let my employer know right away so they can plan accordingly. I find that I’m able to get through most tax returns within two days of receiving the client’s information.”

Do you have experience using tax preparation software?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn about your experience with specific tax preparation software. If you have experience using the company’s software, share what you like about it and how you use it. If you don’t have experience with their software, explain which tax preparation software you’re familiar with and why you prefer it over others.

Example: “I’ve used TaxWise for the past five years because I find it easy to navigate and understand. The program is user-friendly, so I can complete my work quickly without having to refer to a manual or other resources. It also has helpful features that allow me to save time by importing client information from previous years.”

When preparing a tax return, what is your process for verifying a client’s information?

This question can help an interviewer understand how you approach your work and the steps you take to ensure accuracy. Your answer should include a step-by-step process for verifying client information, including any tools or resources you use to confirm data.

Example: “I always start by reviewing my client’s previous tax returns to see if they reported all of their income and deductions. I also check with the IRS website to make sure that the information I have is accurate. If there are discrepancies between what my client reports and what the IRS has on record, I will contact my client to discuss it further.”

We want to improve our customer service and reduce the number of calls our clients have to make regarding their tax returns. How would you encourage clients to reach out if they have questions about their tax return?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you can improve their company’s customer service. In your answer, try to explain what steps you would take to reduce the number of calls and increase client satisfaction.

Example: “I would encourage clients to reach out if they have questions about their tax return by sending them a link to our FAQ page before they file. This way, they can read through any common questions we’ve answered in the past and get an idea of whether or not their question is unique. If it isn’t, I’ll include instructions on how to find the answers themselves. If it is, I will be happy to help.”

Describe your process for organizing your time when preparing multiple tax returns at once.

Time management is an important skill for tax preparers to have. Employers ask this question to see if you can effectively manage your time and prioritize tasks when working on multiple returns at once. In your answer, explain how you plan out your day so that you’re able to complete all of the work you need to do by the deadline.

Example: “I use a calendar app on my phone to schedule appointments with clients and set reminders for myself about deadlines. I also make sure to block off large chunks of time in advance so that I’m not rushing to get everything done before April 15th. This helps me stay organized and ensures that I don’t miss any important deadlines.”

What makes you stand out from other tax preparers?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or two that makes you unique from other tax preparers. You may also want to mention any certifications you have.

Example: “I am passionate about helping others save money on taxes. I’ve been preparing taxes for five years now, and in that time, I’ve saved my clients over $100,000 in taxes. My skills as a tax preparer are what make me stand out from other professionals in the field. I’m always up-to-date with the latest tax laws and filing requirements.”

Which tax filing season do you prefer to work with and why?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your preferences and how you work with clients. Your answer should show that you enjoy working during tax season, but also that you can adapt to different situations.

Example: “I prefer the fall filing season because it’s when most people get their W-2s and other forms in order. I like being able to help them file their taxes quickly so they can start enjoying their refunds or getting ready for April 15th. However, I’ve worked through both seasons before, and I know how to prepare for either one.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of customer service for tax preparers?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you prioritize your work and what skills you use to provide excellent customer service. When answering, consider which aspects of customer service are most important to you and explain why they’re important.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of customer service for tax preparers is listening to our clients. I always make sure to listen carefully when my clients tell me their stories so that I can understand all of their financial information. This helps me better serve them by finding deductions or credits they might not have known about otherwise.”

How often do you update your knowledge of tax law changes?

Employers want to know that you’re committed to staying up-to-date on tax law changes. They also want to make sure you have the time and resources to do so. Your answer should show your commitment to learning about tax law changes, as well as how you plan to keep yourself informed.

Example: “I subscribe to several newsletters and blogs that provide updates on tax law changes. I also take a continuing education course every year to ensure I’m aware of any recent changes. In addition, I always refer to the IRS website for the most current information.”

There is a new tax law that impacts the way you should prepare certain types of returns. How do you adjust your process to ensure you’re following the new guidelines?

This question is a great way to assess your ability to adapt to changes in the tax code. It also shows that you’re aware of current events and how they can impact your work as a tax preparer.

Example: “I am always looking for ways to improve my process, so when I hear about new laws or regulations that affect my work, I make sure to adjust my approach accordingly. For example, last year there was a change in the law regarding dependents. Previously, taxpayers could claim their children as dependents until age 19. However, this changed to age 24 unless the child was a full-time student. This meant that many clients who previously claimed their children were no longer eligible. To ensure I followed the new guidelines, I adjusted my questions to determine if the client had any other dependents besides their children. If not, I would explain why they weren’t eligible to claim them on their return.”


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