(taks uh-koun-ting) (n.)
The practice of preparing tax records for individuals or organizations. Tax accountants work with individuals by organizing all of their financial records for income tax preparation. While following the tax laws, the accountant calculates money owed and tax returns. With businesses and organizations, the role of a tax accountant is more in depth. Tax accountants then must include business license taxes, property taxes and sales taxes. The accountant serves as a consultant who helps to minimize tax liability. Other responsibilities include creating tax projections and numerous financial update reports.
Tax accountants do a variety of tax and financial planning. Knowledge and understanding of state and federal tax laws is a necessity. The nature of accounting means, for many, preparing for this career begins in high school. Classes in intermediate and advanced math are usually recommended to high-school students. Once in college, the student will pursue a bachelor's degree in business accounting or finance. College courses include bookkeeping, financial planning, auditing and taxation, along with business management and business administration.
While requirements vary by state, students who wish to become accountants are required to have 150 semester hours. In addition, students must also have two years of accounting experience, usually earned through an internship with a financial institution. Once these requirements are met, students are then qualified to take the AICPA exam to receive their accounting license. However, education continues throughout the tax accountant's career. To retain their credentials, accountants must stay up to date to changes in tax laws and the field of accounting.
The tax accountant can advance in his or her career by experience, education and skill. Possible advanced positions include tax manager, senior tax accountant and auditor. Career opportunities are found with the IRS and financial institutions; however, some choose to become self-employed. For accountants who wish to advance in their education, there are master degree programs, such as Master of Tax Accounting and Master of Science.