Tax examiners review tax returns, conduct audits, identify taxes payable and collect overdue taxes. They try and obtain the revenues owed the government from citizens and businesses. A tax examiner examines filed tax returns for accuracy and to determine if tax credits and deductions are legal. If the taxpayer owes additional taxes, a tax examiner changes the total amount due by assessing fees, penalties and interest and notifies the taxpayer of the total liability.
Tax examiners typically work with the simplest tax returns such as tax returns filed by individuals which have few deductions and also small businesses. However, some tax examiners deal with more complex tax areas including business net operating losses and pensions. Many entry-level tax examiners perform clerical tasks.
Tax examiners employed by the Federal government provide any adjustments or corrections they make to tax returns to the states. State tax examiners need to determine if the adjustments affect the taxpayer's State tax liability.
Revenue agents work for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and equivalent state and local government agencies. Revenue agents specialize in tax-related accounting work. They audit returns for accuracy, however they also work with complex sales, income and excise tax returns of businesses and large companies. Collectors, also known as revenue officers, in the IRS work with delinquent accounts. The collector works with taxpayers to determine how to settle the debt.
- Determine if tax credits and deductions claimed by taxpayers are legitimate
- Check the accuracy of returns
- Verify that Social Security numbers match names
- Contact taxpayers by telephone and mail to request supporting documentation
- Make sure tax payers have correctly interpreted the instructions included in the tax forms
- Notify taxpayers of an underpayment or overpayment and request additional payment or issue a refund
- Stay current with tax codes changes and accounting procedures
- Maintain records for each case
Stress can occur due to working under a deadline in examining returns and evaluating taxpayer claims. Trustworthiness is vital since tax examiners deal with confidential financial and personal information. They should have good analytical skills and be good with numbers. They also need good time management abilities.
Tax examiners generally work 40 hours per week, however overtime might be necessary during the tax season. Tax examiners that work for state and local governments might have a steadier year-round workload due to working with gasoline, sales and cigarette taxes instead of working with tax returns.
The job growth rate for tax examiners, revenue agents and collectors is projected to grow 2% from 2006 to 2016. Demand for tax examiners will be created by changes in government policy regarding tax enforcement and from growth in the number of companies.
Automation may adversely affect the demand for tax examiners. Those with knowledge of tax laws and experience dealing with complicated tax issues will have the best opportunities. Tax examiners employed by the Federal government earned an average of $38,290 in 2006.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Many tax examiners have a bachelor's degree. Many tax examiners have a degree in accounting or a related subject. However relevant experience or a combination of experience and post secondary education is sufficient for many jobs.
For Federal government jobs, employees are required to have a bachelor's degree or a combination of related experience and some college education. For State and local government jobs, workers often have an associate degree, some college business courses and specialized experience. However, some have a combination of specialized experience and a high school diploma. The specific training and education requirements vary by occupational specialty. Tax examiners are provided formal training after they are hired.
Those seeking to become a tax examiner typically take college courses in tax compliance laws, auditing and multiple levels of accounting and finance. Employers typically offer education on any changes in tax laws, procedures and regulations.
The major employers are the Federal government, State governments and local governments.
Schools for Tax Examiners And Revenue Agents are listed in the Browse Schools Section.