How to Become a
Tax Manager

Couple signing an agreement with a businessman

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

  • Management experience

  • 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.

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.

    New York

    $165,630

    New Jersey

    $143,840

    Delaware

    $142,000

    District of Columbia

    $139,510

    Colorado

    $136,980

    Virginia

    $132,370

    Pennsylvania

    $131,020

    California

    $129,550

    Texas

    $128,870

    Rhode Island

    $126,600

    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
    TaxGirl is an entertaining and informative blog that covers all areas of taxation and tax law from a well-informed tax lawyer.

    Industry Groups

    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