A tax consultant advises individuals, organizations and businesses on a variety of financial-related issues. They can work for a government agency, private accounting firms or even independently. Their main responsibility is to help clients minimize potential tax liability, while remaining in compliance with the law. The best candidates for a career as a tax consultant have a combination of formal education, professional experience and certifications. This is an excellent position for those who are detail-oriented, analytical and enjoy assisting others with their finances.
The primary job duties of a tax consultant involve collecting and analyzing client paperwork, preparing and filing taxes, and meeting with clients to handle disputes. They also research and advise their clients on the latest tax laws and requirements, as well as advising them on ways to legally reduce their tax liability. Tax consultants can also specialize in a specific area of tax law, such as business, estate and retirement taxes.
An in-depth understanding of federal and state tax regulations is the foundation of a successful career as a tax consultant. They must be familiar with the ins and outs of individual, trust, and estate taxation as well as corporate, property, payroll, excise and sales taxes. A tax consultant with advanced knowledge of these specialized areas of the law can offer more comprehensive and strategic advice to their clients.
Strong organization skills are a must for a tax consultant, as they often work with multiple clients at once. This means that they must be able to organize physical files and digital files in an efficient manner so that they are easy to find when needed. This is a particularly important skill during the income tax filing season, which usually runs from January to mid-April, as well as when clients submit requests for six-month extensions in early to mid-fall.
Effective written communication is a necessary skill for a tax consultant, as they may need to send letters or emails with information and updates about their case. They should be able to explain complex legal issues in a clear and concise manner, so that their clients can understand them.
Financial management skills are also a must for a tax consultant, because they often need to assess their client’s financial situation and recommend ways for them to improve it. This includes knowing how to calculate diverse investment portfolios, finding the right deductions and credits applicable, and making recommendations on ways to reduce a client’s tax liabilities.
Many tax consultants need to be licensed, which requires passing a four-part exam administered by their state’s accountancy board. Those who are not licensed may still be qualified to work as a tax consultant, but they will not be able to represent their clients in cases that go before the IRS. Some tax professionals choose to become IRS enrolled agents, which is the highest credential the IRS offers and requires both education and experience. Others are simply certified public accountants (CPA). In any case, the qualifications and skills required for a tax consultant vary considerably. Steuerberater