Along with tax examiners and collectors, revenue agents help ensure that federal, state and local governments collect tax revenues from businesses and individuals. They are responsible for reviewing tax returns and conducting audits, as well as identifying and collecting overdue taxes.
Revenue agents typically deal with the complex tax returns of corporations and other large businesses on behalf of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Some may specialize in particular areas of taxation, such as international business. Revenue agents must frequently update and expand their knowledge of complicated and evolving tax laws and regulations.
Other job duties include investigating income tax returns to verify the taxpayer’s information and determine any additional tax liability. They also determine whether tax credits and deductions were properly applied under the law. When discrepancies are noted, revenue agents contact the taxpayer to request supporting documentation. Keeping detailed records of communication with taxpayers is an important duty.
Additional duties include imposing payment deadlines on delinquent taxpayers.
Job Outlook and Salary Range for Revenue Agents
A nationwide survey conducted by the BLS shows that revenue agents, and tax examiners and collectors earned a median annual wage of $51,430 in 2015. The top 10% earned more than $96,060. Both figures represent a slight increase over 2014. Wages were higher for federal workers, compared with those for employees of state and local governments.
Salary potential generally is affected by local market conditions, as are employment opportunities. Educational qualifications and work experience also are factors considered by employers.
Education and Training for Revenue Agents
Specific qualifications required will vary according to the level of government, but most revenue agents hold at least a bachelor’s degree, often in business administration, accounting, economics or a related field. Some positions may also require specialized work experience in accounting, bookkeeping or tax analysis, the BLS reports. State and local government agencies may accept equivalent work experience in place of a bachelor’s degree.
Interpersonal skills are an important attribute for effective revenue agents, as are analytical and organizational skills, and attention to detail.
Entry-level revenue agents often work under the supervision of senior staff members. Advancement is possible after gaining experience. In addition, continuing education may contribute to prospects for promotion. With additional education and leadership skills, revenue agents may have the opportunity to move into supervisory positions.
Military Occupational Specializations
Revenue agents typically utilize skills and knowledge that are similar to those required of servicemembers in a variety of military occupational roles. For example: