According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the role of a tax examiner is straightforward: To ensure that the government gets the tax money it is owed.
Tax examiners typically deal with tax returns filed by individuals and small businesses, whether at the municipal, state or federal level. They confirm that taxpayers are claiming the appropriate deductions and credits, and assess penalties, interest and fees as necessary.
Job Outlook and Salary for Tax Examiners
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for tax examiners to follow general trends in falling federal employment and decline by 6% through 2024. The benefits tax examiners bring to government by increasing revenue mean the decline in those positions may not be as steep as the overall 11% employment drop expected for the federal government.
Employment for tax examiners is expected to hinge on the stability of budgets in state, local and federal governments.
The BLS said the median salary for tax examiners was $51,430 in May 2015 with those at the top 10% earning a median pay of $96,060.
Jobs with the federal government pay the most with an average salary of $59,690, followed by state, then local government agencies, the BLS said.
Education and Training for Tax Examiners
In general, a bachelor’s degree, relevant experience or a combination of both are requirements for a career as a tax examiner, according to the BLS. The degree may be in a specific field such as business administration or accounting.
Upon entering the profession, tax examiners are likely to undergo training and also must stay up to date on the changing landscape of tax laws.
Career Paths for Tax Examiners
In order to be effective, tax examiners typically must be detail-oriented and organized, as well as skilled in analysis and interpersonal communication. Opportunities for career advancement can include transitioning to handling more complicated tax returns as a revenue agent or moving to a management position.
The availability of advancement opportunities will vary based on whether the tax examiner is employed by a local, state or federal agency.
Military Occupational Specializations
The skills and knowledge required for employment as a tax examiner mirror those associated with a variety of military occupational specializations across branches of the armed forces.
Those military roles include: financial management technician and financial manager in the Army; and financial management officer, cost analysis officer and financial management comptroller in the Air Force.
In the Navy, sailors in the finance and accounting field deal with payroll, retail sales and expenses, among other duties.