Looking for a tax preparer job? During tax season, which typically runs from January 1 through April 15, tax preparation companies hire seasonal workers to help clients prepare income tax returns.
A tax preparation job can be a great way to earn extra money during income tax season and can sometimes lead to other, more permanent opportunities in accounting and finance.
The positions are often flexible, allowing you to work days, nights, or weekends, depending on your schedule.
They can be full-time or part-time. Because of this flexibility, it is an ideal seasonal job for parents and people with full-time jobs.
Some positions in tax preparation require tax experience or specific certifications. Others, like jobs in data entry and administration, do not require tax experience.
Get details on the types of tax season jobs available, the qualifications you might need, and how to find these jobs.
Types of Tax Jobs
Tax preparation offices ranging from small local offices to large tax firms hire a variety of types of seasonal workers. Online companies such as Intuit (which makes TurboTax) also hire tax advisors. The Internal Revenue Service likewise hires temporary employees for tax filing season.
Tax Preparation & Advisor Jobs
The types of jobs available vary in their duties. Tax preparer jobs require you to help clients prepare their tax returns and answer any questions they have. Other jobs that involve helping clients with taxes and general financial planning include audit associates, personal financial services associates, tax examiners, and tax advisors.
There are also positions that do not require you to have much, or any, financial knowledge. For example, positions such as general clerk and data transcriber require you to review, examine, and manage documents. Some companies also hire seasonal program coordinators, administrative assistants, and bookkeepers, who perform administrative duties such as answering phones and maintaining databases.
Qualifications for Tax Season Jobs
Depending on the job you apply for, tax preparation companies may be seeking candidates with specific experience and degrees. For example, a tax preparer job might require that candidates have a certain number of years of experience in accounting or tax preparation. Others might require certified public accountant (CPA) certification.
Income Tax Preparation Classes
Some tax preparation companies (including H&R Block, Liberty Tax, and Jackson Hewitt) offer income tax courses for applicants who lack experience or certifications but are interested in a seasonal job. Many courses begin before January so that applicants can be qualified in time for tax season.
In-person and online courses are available. Some classes are free, although they may charge you for books and class materials. Other classes charge a fee. Most last a few weeks or months and are part-time.
Before you sign up for a training course, check to see if there is a charge for the class and, if so, what is included in the fee.
Employment at the company isn't guaranteed after taking a course. However, taking a tax course can boost your application, especially if you have limited previous experience in tax preparation.
The Skills You Need to Get Hired
In general, tax season jobs are best suited for candidates who are organized and detail oriented. Strong people skills and communication abilities are also important.
You may need to speak with clients about their personal finances, which is a very intimate topic of conversation, and may need to share unwelcome news, such as when clients owe a lot of money.
How to Find Tax Jobs
One way to find tax jobs is to apply directly to the employer's website. In most cases, you'll be able to apply online for seasonal tax positions, including tax professional, processing, advising, and administrative jobs.
Apply Direct on Company Websites
Below are the career websites for some of the largest tax preparation firms and organizations:
Another way to find income tax preparation jobs, especially at smaller companies, is to use various job search engines. You can search for a specific job title, such as “tax preparer” or “tax advisor.” Most job search engines allow you to search by type of job. Click the “Seasonal Jobs” box, if it is available.
Look for Local Opportunities
If there is a tax firm near you, you can call or stop in and ask if they have any seasonal jobs available. Or you can send them a cold contact letter, which is a letter to a company asking about unadvertised job openings.
Start Your Own Business
Keep in mind that you can also offer tax preparation services yourself. You can set up an online tax preparation site (although this costs some money up front) or offer tax preparation in person.
The IRS requires all tax preparers to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Some states, such as New York, California, and Oregon, require tax preparers to register with the state as well. Investigate the requirements for your state before offering tax preparation services.
Many organizations hire seasonal tax help. This includes tax preparation firms as well as the IRS. The tax season typically lasts from January through April 15, the deadline to file taxes.
Experience requirements vary. Some roles may call for certification or require the candidate to have taken a course. Support staff roles may have fewer requirements.
Hours are often flexible. While some organizations may want temporary full-time employees, seasonal tax workers can often benefit from flexible hours, working when their schedule allows.