How to Become a
Are you interested in a career as a Tax Manager? Use this guide to find out more about the job, how to get there, what the job prospects are, and much more.
What Does a Tax Manager Do?
A Tax Manager is responsible for creating, implementing and overseeing the tax plan for their clients, either businesses or individuals. Their primary responsibility is to accurately and efficiently manage clients’ tax reporting and planning and ensure compliance of all tax laws. An in-house Tax Manager works as a member of senior management within a company. Other Tax Managers may be consultants for multiple clients.
Day to day duties of a Tax Manager include the preparation of the required government documents concerning taxes, ensuring the accuracy of these documents and offering solutions to a variety of tax problems facing the clients. Tax Managers work directly with senior management to develop solutions to meet the business’ tax objectives, but they also work with staff to apply those solutions in daily operations. Some common Tax Manager duties and responsibilities include:
Manage Compliance: A key responsibility of a Tax Manager is to ensure that the business operations of the client are in-line with all international, federal, state and local tax laws and regulations.
Set Tax Strategies and Policies. In conjunction with senior management, Tax Managers develop and implement tax risk strategies and policies to keep the company in compliance and to help it maximize profits.
Participate in Tax Reporting. At year-end, the Tax Manager plays an important role in the company’s tax reporting, often preparing and submitting tax documents and ensuring the accuracy of all reports.
Tax Manager Skills
Ideal Tax Manager candidates should possess advanced analytical skills and strategic thinking skills; a primary responsibility of a Tax Manager involves the need to analyze data and develop solutions to complex problems. Because of the need to manage multiple duties and sometimes multiple clients, Tax Managers also benefit from the ability to multi-task and prioritize. A Tax Manager needs to have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They also need superb interpersonal skill in order to effectively work with accounting staff as well as upper management.
Other key Tax Manager skills include:
Knowledge of relevant Tax Laws, including international, federal, state and local
Familiar with Oracle, HFM Smart View, Corptax Provision software
Proficiency in Excel including advanced functions i.e. pivot tables, logical formulas and macros
How Do You Become a Tax Manager
Education and Training
To become a Tax Manager, you will first need to complete a bachelor's degree program in accounting, business administration, economics or finance. Because Tax Manager roles are often part of senior management and are competitive positions, a master’s degree in tax law, business or accounting will improve your job prospects and increase your subject-matter knowledge.
After earning your education, you will need to gain experience performing and overseeing accounting work. This could be as an intern or an employee in an accounting office, which will provide you with on the job experience with accounting, auditing or taxation. Most Tax Manager job listings require applicants to have four to ten years of job experience under their belt.
In order to become a Tax Manager, most states will require you to have a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license from the board of accountancy in the state in which you’ll be practicing. This is an additional requirement to work as a Tax Manager at any publically traded companies, because the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will only accept filings from a CPA. The Requirements to become a CPA depend on the state, but usually include education and up to two years' accounting experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. You’ll then need to pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
Finding a job
The Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes Tax Managers under the larger umbrella of Financial Managers, and predicts that growth for this group will grow by 7 percent over the next two decades. However, growth will vary by industry; services provided by financial managers, including those offered by Tax Managers, are likely to stay in demand as the economy grows. As taxes will always be an issue, companies will continue to need the services and expertise provided by Tax Managers.
A successful Tax Manager job search begins with an impressive, high-quality resume that highlights your skills and experience. For guidance on crafting a great resume, take a look at our library of Tax Manager resume samples.
After perfecting your resume, start you search online for Tax Manager job opportunities. As you look for openings, be sure to leverage your professional network, including people you met through an internship or externship.
When applying for Tax Manager jobs, write a cover letter for each application that expresses your interest in the position and highlights your qualifications and what you will bring to the role. Want to see some examples of cover letters? Check out our collection of cover letter samples.
Insights from a Tax Manager
For a more in-depth perspective on this career we asked professionals about their experience as Tax Managers. Read what they answered in our Insight section.
What is the common career path for a Tax Manager?
The most common tax manager has a background in finance and some level of tax law understanding along with the process of taxation. It has become common for an employer to hire tax managers who are CPAs or CFPs but this requires further education often around the level of a master's degree.
What should someone consider before becoming a Tax Manager?
One thing you might want to consider before becoming a Tax Manager is if you're in it for the long run. Being a Tax Manager requires a life-long education. Since the law is constantly changing, accountants need to be up to date with all the latest regulations. Another thing to ask yourself is if you can cope with stressing work and tight deadlines with regards to tax season among other things.
What type of person excels in this job?
A person with a strong emphasis on accuracy and high levels of conscientiousness can become a very good tax manager. If you love numbers and are good at playing around with them then you most likely will become a good tax manager.
What are some of the most important skills for Tax Managers to have?
Advanced Microsoft Excel knowledge, ERP experience, SQL, understanding of high-quality business software, Microsoft Visual Basic skills and proficiency in QuickBooks.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Tax Manager?
Like the old saying goes "nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." A successful career in Tax Management means you'll have great job stability. Also, there is a great deal of job options for a Tax Manager since every single industry has a need for a tax specialist.
How Much Do Tax Managers Get Paid?
Most Tax Managers work full time and are paid an annual salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Managers, including Tax Managers, have a median annual wage in the United States of $117,990. The lowest-paid Financial Managers make less than $63,020 per year, while the highest-paid can earn more than $187,200.
Top 10 States for Tax Manager Salary
Financial Managers, including Tax Managers, in the following states make the highest median annual wage in the U.S.
Tax Manager Resources
In case you want to find out more information, we put together this handy list of Resources to help you continue explore a career as a Tax Manager.
On the Web
Philadelphia Estate and Tax Attorney Blog
Steven J. Fromm writes about his 35 years of experience helping clients with tax, business, estate planning and probate administration matters.
Tax Justice Blog
Citizens for Tax Justice is a public interest research and advocacy organization that focuses on federal, state and local tax policies and their impact in the U.S.
TaxGirl is an entertaining and informative blog that covers all areas of taxation and tax law from a well-informed tax lawyer.
Financial Management Association International
Get information about financial managers, including Tax Managers, and details about certification.
Association for Financial Professionals
Learn about careers in financial, treasury and tax management and the Certified Treasury Professional program.
Tax Manager Books
Examples & Explanations: Corporate Taxation
This textbook will walk you through the murky world of corporate tax law.