Is the Role of Tax Accountant the Right One for You?

Salary Spotlight: Tax Accountant

If you’re a tax accountant or looking to start a career as one, we have good news for you: The position is in demand right now. And as you can see in Robert Half's latest Salary Guide, tax accountant pay levels are still going up.

For 2017, you can expect an increase in starting salary for tax accountant jobs of at least 3.6 percent from the year before. But before you demand a raise or increase your salary requirements, take a look at starting salaries at different-sized companies and different regions of the U.S.

Latest tax accountant salary benchmarks

2017 Salary Guide coverData from the Salary Guide shows an entry-level tax accountant at a large company can expect a starting salary in the year to come of $51,750 to $64,750. For tax accountants at midsize companies with up to a year of experience, the salary range is projected to be $50,250 to $62,000.

Staff tax accountants with one to three years’ experience can expect large companies to offer $60,750 to $82,000 in 2017, a bump of 3.6 percent, while those in midsize firms will receive an increase of 3.7 percent with salaries in the $57,750 to $75,000 range.

The senior tax accountant starting salary has also risen 3.6 percent at large organizations, with salaries ranging from $81,750 to $105,000. At midsize organizations, salaries span $69,500 to $93,000.

There’s also room for advancement into the management level, where starting salaries have increased 3.7 percent at both large midsize organizations.  

Visit the Salary Center, where you'll be able to adjust salaries for tax accountant jobs in your city with the Salary Calculator, and get your own copy of the Salary Guide.

Duties and experience

The duties for a tax accountant go hand-in-hand with experience level. At the entry level, you’ll be expected to maintain tax records and help with tax preparation and research. You’ll also be responsible for keeping the department’s tax compliance calendar up to date.

Once you’ve banked one to three years’ experience, the duties increase. You’ll now find yourself hitting the books to research tax laws and regulations. A mid-level tax accountant is required to complete corporate tax returns, as well as lend a hand during tax audits. Responding to tax notifications will fall under your purview, too.

As a senior tax accountant, you’ll see your duties expand into the realms of compliance, as you ensure your organization meets the standards of local, state and federal laws. You’ll research tax laws and regulations and plan means by which your organization can reduce tax liability. A senior tax accountant is a supervisory role, so you’ll also be managing the company’s tax staff.

Professional experience and skills

Much like job duties, the education you need will vary based on career level. At the entry level, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting. Senior staffers, you will find advanced degrees, such as a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), and certifications — certified public accountant or certified management accountant (CPA or CMA) — will help you stand apart from other applicants. You’ll also need to demonstrate a proficiency in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Excellent communication is a must at any career level, as are superb research, organizational and Microsoft Excel skills. Senior tax accountants need to have three years of tax accounting experience and expertise in database applications.

Are you ready to take the next step? Search for tax accountant jobs.

This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated recently to reflect information in the latest Salary Guide.

Salaries for other finance positions