Tax Accountants use their skills and knowledge of tax legislation and regulations to provide assistance to their clients or employers in paying taxes in the most efficient and beneficial way possible, always complying with government laws and procedures. They provide advice to companies and clients on how to minimize the impact that paying taxes takes on the company.
There are two types of Tax Accountants, Corporate and Personal. Corporate Tax Accountants work for companies, whether as part of an Accounting Firm or as a member of the Accounting department, to ensure that the company doesn’t pay more taxes than the minimum necessary according to law and regulations. Personal Tax Accountants, on the other hand, work for individual clients, usually with an Accounting firm, providing advice and assistance with tax payments.
Most Tax Accountants work for specialized Accounting Firms, as part of the staff of a company, or for the provincial or national government. Firms usually work with small or medium-sized businesses, as well as for individuals looking for assistance with their taxes. Some Tax Accountants prefer to be self-employed and work independently from any firm or company, offering their services to individual clients.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Tax Accountants are required to complete.
- Collect taxation information on clients or companies:
- Reviewing financial books and balances;
- analyzing financial records, systems, and budgets; and
- performing audits and interviews with clients to collect additional data.
- Analyzing collected data to find possible tax deductions or exemptions:
- Calculating tax liabilities; and
- designing strategies to minimize liabilities.
- Meeting with clients and supervisors:
- Explaining tax laws and regulations using non-technical language; and
- proposing ways to reduce payments.
- Developing strategies to reduce tax payments:
- Finding deductibles; and
- understanding tax laws and clauses to find exemptions.
- Submitting tax reports in a timely manner:
- Completing and submitting tax return forms before deadlines; and
- reviewing past tax returns and reports to find possible errors and correcting them.
- Meeting with taxation authorities on behalf of clients or employers:
- Negotiating tax payment issues with the corresponding authorities;
- going over discrepancies (e.g. income and expenses figures not matching or balancing as they should); and
- finding possible solutions for issues or discrepancies.
- Meeting with company superiors to go over tax plans:
- Explaining tax-reducing strategies;
- explaining new and updated laws and regulations regarding taxation; and
- making recommendations regarding tax impact on the company.
- Creating projections and strategies regarding the client or employer’s financial future.
- Preparing tax reports.
- Reviewing tax records of clients or employers.
- Finding possible tax deductions or exemptions.
- Developing future tax strategies and presenting tax projections to clients or employers.
- Preparing governmental tax returns.
- Preparing personal property tax returns.
- Meeting with clients and employers to explain tax laws and regulations.
- Meeting with taxation authorities.
The average Tax Accountant salary is $55,002 per year or $28 per hour. This is around 1.7 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $39,000 while most experienced workers make up to $77,000. These results are based on 25 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Excellent communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to effectively advise and interact with clients or employers;
- explaining taxation procedures to clients or employers, simplifying often complex and lengthy matters and using a non-technical language; and
- writing detailed and accurate tax reports and being able to explain the results to clients or employers.
- Highly detail-oriented:
- Analyzing tax records, receipts, and detailed information regarding finances;
- carefully and accurately entering data into accounting spreadsheets; and
- balancing long and complex financial books.
- Outstanding numeric and mathematical skills:
- Performing simple and complex calculations; and
- rounding off zeros to designate numbers as thousands or millions.
- Excellent organizational and time management skills:
- Working with several clients and balancing different tax records at the same time;
- writing reports for different clients; and
- meeting tax return deadlines.
- Good analytical skills:
- Analyzing budgets, tax records, incomes, and expenses to find possible deductions;
- finding ways to minimize tax impact; and
- having a methodical approach to analysis.
- Strong computer skills:
- Using automated computer software for tax income statements; and
- being knowledgeable in all available specialized programs.
- High levels of integrity and honesty.
Most entry-level jobs for Tax Accountants require applicants to have a college or university degree in Accounting, Business, Economics, or Mathematics. Candidates with degrees in other areas are also accepted provided they possess the necessary skills or experience. Previous work in Retail, Sales, or Customer Service can also be an asset to those interested in this field.
Since Taxation is a branch or specialization of Accounting, most job opportunities are available in specialized Accounting Firms or in companies with an Accounting department. Tax payments are of special interest to both individuals and companies, so Tax Accountants are widely sought after.
For higher-ranked jobs and better wages, it is in the interest of applicants to pursue a certification process. Most companies and firms encourage their employees to get certified and some even facilitate methods to do so. The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is the organization responsible for standardizing, regulating, and certifying all accounting activities within the country. The certification program offered by the CPA Canada is available throughout the country. It involves up to 3 years of courses and also requires a minimum of 3 years of experience working in the field of accounting in order to be eligible to take the final examination.
The working hours of a Tax Accountant are usually 9-to-5 on a Monday through Friday basis. However, during periods of high amounts of work (e.g. the end of the tax year), it is common for Tax Accountants to work extra hours in order to meet deadlines. Moreover, working with private or individual clients may involve house calls, sometimes out of regular office hours.
Although self-employment is quite common among Tax Accountants, the majority that chooses to follow this path already have years of experience working in the field and have made a reputation for themselves, as well as enough contacts and clients to maintain their business.