Tax Examiner: Career Information

Job Description:

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics groups tax examiner, tax collector and revenue agent together as one occupation, but they are slightly different from one another. All three make sure that taxes are filed properly and that taxpayers are not taking deductions and credits to which they aren't legally entitled. A tax examiner checks individuals' federal, state and local tax returns for accuracy.

A revenue agent handles business and corporate returns which are more complicated. A collector deals with overdue accounts.

Employment Facts:

There were approximately 75,000 tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents employed in the US in 2010. They worked for the federal government and for state and local governments. Some worked in offices and others visited taxpayers in their homes and businesses. Jobs are usually full-time with overtime often required during tax season (mid-January through mid-April).

Educational Requirements:

To work as a tax examiner one must have a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related discipline, or a combination of education and full-time accounting, auditing or tax compliance work. The IRS will hire tax examiners who have a bachelor's degree or one year of full-time specialized experience, in accounting, bookkeeping or tax analysis.

Why Do You Need to Know About Educational Requirements?


Other Requirements:

An employer will generally provide formal training and on-the-job training for a tax examiner after hiring him or her. Tax examiners must stay on top of changes to tax laws by attending meetings.

To succeed in this occupation, one needs certain skills that aren't necessarily learned in school or acquired through training.

A tax examiner, in order to find problems on returns and determine whether they are lawful, must have good analytical skills and be detail-oriented. Good organizational skills will help him or her deal with multiple returns. A tax examiner must also have good interpersonal skills. People who work in this occupation often find themselves facing people who are upset with them and therefore must be able to remain calm but firm.


Advancement Opportunities:

With experience, some tax examiners are ready to handle more complicated business and corporate returns. They become revenue agents. Both examiners and revenue agents may become managers but only if they have prior supervisory experience. Collectors are sometimes promoted to managerial positions in which they will oversee the work of more junior collectors.

Why Do You Need to Know About Advancement?


Job Outlook:

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of tax examiners will grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2020. There will be job opportunities, however, as governments hire employees to enforce and collect taxes.

Why Do You Need to Know About Job Outlook?



Tax examiners earned a median annual salary of $50,130 and median hourly wages of $24.10 in 2011.

Use the Salary Wizard at to find out how much a Tax Examiner currently earns in your city.


A Day in a Tax Examiner's Life:


On a typical day a tax examiner's tasks might include:

  • reviewing tax returns for accuracy
  • entering data into a computer system
  • maintaining records on each case
  • contacting taxpayers about discrepencies on their returns and requesting supporting documentation
  • keeping up with accounting procedures and changes to tax code

Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents, on the Internet at (visited April 24, 2013).
Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Tax Examiners, Collectors and Revenue Agents, on the Internet at (visited April 24, 2013).

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