Seasonal Jobs at the Internal Revenue Service

IRS building
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Post offices around the U.S. begin filling up with people in at tax time, those who have waited until the last possible minute to mail their tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service. Many file their returns in the months preceding the usual annual deadline of April 15, and many file extensions that allow them extra time.

Businesses and high-income earners additionally submit tax payments on a quarterly basis, so the IRS needs a stable crew to handle this steady flow year-round. But a significant portion of the agency’s business revolves around the April 15 deadline.

The IRS hires seasonal employees to handle the flurry of business in the spring and summer. This temporary staff processes mail, enters data from paper forms, reviews returns for accuracy, and answer questions from filers.

These jobs are great for students who need flexible schedules, and for retirees who want to keep their work skills sharp but don't want to commit to full-time, year-round employment. Retired tax professionals are frequently hired for seasonal work.

What Types of IRS Temp Jobs Are Available?

The IRS posts specific types of jobs to meet seasonal demands. These are the jobs that are typically available each year in locations around the country:

Job Title: Clerk
Duties: Processing incoming mail, maintaining files and records and filing documents including tax returns

Job Title: Mail and File Clerk
Duties: Maintaining records and other documents, processing outgoing mail, and monitoring outgoing shipments to ensure delivery

Job Title: Financial Clerk
Duties: Performing variety of finance-related clerical duties, such as extracting information from tax returns, reconciling records, tracking data and filing information

Job Title: Cash Processing Clerk
Duties: Handling money; maintaining records; screening documents, forms and letters; and other administrative tasks

Job Title: Contact Representative
Duties: Providing administrative and technical assistance to individuals and businesses primarily over the phone and in person

Job Title: Data Transcriber
Duties: Entering information from tax returns into the IRS computer system

Job Title: Tax Examiner
Duties: Reviewing tax returns for accuracy and completeness, reviewing and coding tax returns for computer processing, resolving errors and corresponding with taxpayers to obtain any missing information

Job Title: Correspondence Examination Technician
Duties: Examining tax returns and communicating with taxpayers through phone or correspondence; or providing support to tax compliance officers and revenue agents during their examinations

Job Title: Mail Processing Equipment Operator
Duties: Supervise mail processing staff, planning and prioritizing the work of subordinates, evaluating their job performance, offering advice and instruction and considering ways to make improvements

What Experience Is Required?

A high school diploma is required for seasonal IRS jobs, but experience is not. The IRS provides all necessary training to new hires. Many seasonal employees come back year after year.

What Is the Application Process?

The IRS typically posts seasonal jobs in the fall for the next tax season. This gives the IRS the time to complete the hiring process and train new hires so seasonal workers will be ready to tackle their duties when business picks up.

Applicants must use the federal government’s job application portal at USAJobs to apply for open positions. All federal agencies use USAJobs, so the process that applicants go through for a seasonal IRS job is the same as that for any other federal job.

USAJobs allows applicants to track the status of their submitted applications. Agency human resources professionals have incentives to keep applicants informed through the portal. Applicants can log into USAJobs and get the latest information instead of calling the agency HR office every few days to check on an application’s status.