- On average, tax preparers make around $9.50 per hour plus commission
- You don't need a college education to be a tax preparer
- You may need certification through the IRS
What do tax preparers do?
Tax preparers, like car mechanics, are people everyone wants to know. Every person with a job has to pay taxes, and every person who pays taxes dreads doing the paperwork. Enter the tax preparer.
To be an awesome tax preparer you'll have to greet customers and conduct interviews with potential clients. Company policy dictates the questions you'll need to ask, so no need to practice your interviewing skills every night before bed. Once you gather information from clients, you'll recommend the right products and services, and complete (or audit) any related tax forms. This process is almost always handled electronically, so you'll need to know your way around a keyboard.
How much do tax preparers make?
The average hourly pay for all tax preparers is around $9.50 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. Almost all tax preparers are paid a combination of base salary, commission for completed returns, bonuses based on performance and other incentives for selling products like IRAs.
You'll need at least a high school diploma or GED. Computer training and a reasonable comfort level with numbers is also important. The employer will teach you about applicable tax law and how to navigate their computer systems, but an overall familiarity with the tax industry is a definite plus.
Career paths for tax preparers
Tax preparation is extremely seasonal. It peaks in February and March but stays busy through April 15th. In order to make a career of tax preparation, you will need additional education and licensure. Tax preparation is an excellent gateway into most accounting and finance careers.
The future of tax preparer jobs
According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for tax preparers and accountants are growing. More complex tax laws and population growth will continue to create demand in a recession-proof industry. Taxes will be due every year, so tax preparers will always have clients.
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