Tax Accounting Programs and Schools
Students who are interested in pursing a degree in tax accounting will focus on accounting and business operations, tax policy and procedure, and tax legislation. Unlike traditional accounting, which focuses on public financial statements, tax accounting programs and professionals follow the tax laws set in place by the Internal Revenue Code.
Depending on your career interests, you have the option of enrolling in an associate, bachelor or master degree program in tax accounting and taxation and should expect to spend between two and eight years completing. In all tax accounting programs you can expect to cover courses such as payroll accounting, bookkeeping, business management, individual and business taxation, federal and state income taxes and cost accounting.
Most colleges now offer both online options for accounting degrees in addition to traditional courses for completing your coursework. This is especially true at the higher degree levels because administrators understand that most students who take advantage of online opportunities are nontraditional students who are busy working professionals who also have family obligations.
To earn an online degree in tax accounting, students must complete a comprehensive course load consisting of finance classes, accounting classes, business management and business ethics classes, and business fundamental courses.
Devry and the University of Phoenix are two institutions which offer tax accounting programs online through their Bachelor's Technical Management and Bachelor's in Business Management programs respectively.
Although each state has its own licensing requirements for tax accountants, the typical requirement is a minimum of a bachelor degree and two years of full-time experience in the field of accounting. Additionally, You must possess the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential before you can file tax reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The National Association for the State Boards of Accountancy administers the test and the requirements to take the exam vary based on your state of residence. The CPA exam is computer-based and takes up to 14 hours to complete. It consists of four sections:
- Auditing and Attestation
- Business Environment and Concepts
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
There are many different career options available recent graduates with a degree specializing in tax accounting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 61,140 people employed as tax preparers in the United States who earn an average annual income of $41,700. When the category is expanded to include accounting, bookkeeping and payroll services, the median annual income increases slightly to $41,980.
The states with the highest percentage of tax preparers are California, Texas, Florida, New York and Georgia. However, only New York is included in the top five states with the highest average salary for tax preparers. The others are the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Colorado and New Jersey. The pay range in these states is $53,180 to $63,990.
Accountants and auditors who specialize in tax issues typically earn an annual salary of $61,690. The BLS predicts a 16 percent increase in accounting and auditing jobs every year through 2020. People in this role typically work for businesses to help ensure that the company's tax returns are prepared correctly and submitted on time. The projected increase is attributed to increased financial reporting regulations imposed by the federal government.