Tax Assistant Job Description
Tax Assistants provide support to an organization’s tax or accounting department. Their role is a combination of administrative assistance and accounting support. They must be able to run an office, as well as perform higher level functions, such as processing tax returns and maintaining databases.
Tax Assistants work under the supervision of a Tax Manager or supervisor, but many of their duties are performed with little or no supervision. Tax Assistants should be self-motivated and comfortable working alone. The number of jobs in the bookkeeping, accounting and audit clerk category is expected to decline 8 percent through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, due to the popularity of online tax services.
Tax Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
The type of organization a Tax Assistant works for will determine their particular responsibilities, however, there are several primary duties all Tax Assistants perform. A review of current job listings identified the following primary tasks and responsibilities.
Provide Administrative Assistance
Many Tax Assistants are in charge of running the office. They answer phones, greet customers, make appointments, file paperwork, perform data entry, scan documents and receive and sort mail, along with any other tasks that contribute to the function of the office. Depending on the type of organization one works for, this may be a large part of the job or a minor part of the job. Some Tax Assistants will also be responsible for creating reports and presentations.
Perform Tax and Accounting Duties
Some Tax Assistants will be hired to help file annual or quarterly tax returns on behalf of the business they work for, while others will be hired by tax service companies to assist tax preparers review and file customers’ tax returns. Tax Assistants will need to have a basic understanding of the tax laws and regulations in order to perform this duty. They will need to be able to use tax software programs, analyze and review complicated forms, and prepare reports and financial documentation. Some Tax Assistants will spend the majority of their day in these type of activities, while for others it may be only an occasional task.
Tax Assistant Skills
A Tax Assistant must enjoy providing customer service and be reliable. A high attention to detail and excellent organizational skills are also important. Tax Assistants should be team players and excellent in communicating both verbally and in writing. In addition to these traits, employers look for applicants with the following skillsets.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Tax Assistant with these core skills. If you want to work in Tax Assistant, focus on the following.
- Proficiency in computer programs, such as Microsoft Word and Excel, and database systems
- Using office equipment such as fax machines, copiers, and scanners
- Having basic mathematical skills
- Handling sensitive and confidential information properly
- Performing clerical duties
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your skillset and broaden your career options.
- IRS VITA/TCE certification
- College degree
Tax Assistant Resources
There are more helpful resources available on the Web for those interested in working as a Tax Assistant. We scoured the internet and found these links full of learning opportunities and the latest industry news.
On the Web
Accounting Today – This online magazine offers the latest news, in-depth articles, and editorial analyses for tax and accounting professionals. Although the whole site is full of interesting information, click on the “Tax Practice” section for the most relevant materials.
TaxPro Journal – This online quarterly journal is offered by the National Association of Tax Professionals and is a great resource for all the latest trends and news in the industry.
Tax Assistant Books
Extraordinary Tax Career: Insights for the Aspiring or Experienced Tax Professional – A book written by a life-long tax professional based on his experiences and offering tons of great information on the profession as well as insight into the field. It acts as both an informational resource as well as an inspiring tale.
Administrative Assistant’s & Secretary’s Handbook – A great resource for all administrative duties one might be expected to perform. It provides best practices as well as detailed information on the most common software programs assistants use in their work.
National Society of Tax Professionals – NSTP was founded in 1985 and has been providing the tax professional community with a variety of educational opportunities with classroom based trainings, webinar, and conferences.
National Association of Tax Professionals – Founded in 1979, NATP provides its tax professional members with benefits such as education opportunities, the latest research in the field, and a network of like-minded professionals.
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