Tax Collector: Job Description, Salary, and Education
Ensuring that governments are paid the tax money that they are owed is the job of tax examiners and collectors. Reviewing financial statements, monitoring tax returns and auditing people or companies help tax examiners find out what is owed. Once the amount owed has been determined, they work toward collecting the overdue taxes from the person or business.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tax examiners and collectors are projected to see a 7% growth in employment from 2010 to 2020. Though this growth is slower than the average for all occupations, federal tax enforcement is likely to increase.
The BLS explains, “When government budgets are tight, these workers are more likely than other government employees to be kept on the job, because stronger tax enforcement and collection increases government budgets. Accordingly, employment of these workers should increase, even if overall government spending and employment are reduced.”
As of May 2010, the median salary of tax examiners and collectors according to the BLS was $49,360. Tax examiners that work in federal government had a higher median wage, $55,270 a year as of May 2010.
Job Skills for Tax Examiners and Collectors
Having a propensity for working with numbers, organization skills and strong attention to detail are all helpful skills for someone working as a tax examiner or collector. They must familiarize themselves with tax laws, regulations and other accounting procedures and always keep up with any changes.
Tax examiners and collectors also have to be adept at communication. It is their job to reach out to people or businesses that owe the government money and make sure they pay. They follow up with people who have filed returns with any mistakes or suspicious activity.
Work Environment for Tax Examiners and Collectors
Working as a tax examiner or collector is usually a full-time job. However, during tax season it is common for people working in this industry to work some overtime hours. Their work is done mostly in office settings.
Some tax examiners or collectors may be stationed in long-term or permanent positions at major companies or international corporations. Others may have to travel to conduct field audits.
Education Requirements for Tax Examiners and Collectors
Most tax examiners or collectors need to have a bachelor’s degree to work in this field. However, additional experience or particular areas of study may be required depending on the particular position and level of government.
Tax examiners require a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related area or the equivalent work experience. Examiners working for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) need either a bachelor’s degree or a year of full-time work experience in a specialized area like tax analysis, accounting or bookkeeping.
Tax collectors are required to have a combination of work experience and college education in a related field. In order for tax collectors to get a job with the IRS, a bachelor’s degree in a subject like accounting, finance, business or criminal justice is a requirement. Work experience cannot be substituted for a degree for tax collectors with the IRS.