Tax preparers prepare all sorts of tax returns for individuals and businesses, usually small businesses. Sometimes, the preparers are CPAs (certified public accountants), but often, they are brought in on a temporary or part-time basis. They may fill staffing gaps at busy times of the year. They have a good knowledge of tax law, and employers often ask, at a minimum, that preparers have an associate degree in accounting or a similar field.
Your tax preparer job description should list a mix of hard and soft skills. Hard skills could include mathematics and experience in a specific tax software program, while soft skills for tax preparers tend to include communication and customer service.
You may also need your tax preparer applicants to have specific experience or to be willing to work overtime. The tax preparer job description below is one approach to a well-written job description.
Tax Preparer Job Summary
Do you have a passion for math and helping others solve their tax problems? Our community services agency is seeking five part-time tax preparers to help low-income clients with their taxes. You’ll work from mid-January to the end of April, ideally for at least 20 hours a week. Big bonus: You get to set your own hours! We do prefer some availability during evenings and on weekends, if possible. You’ll be paid $20 an hour, but perhaps more importantly, you’ll be part of a team that gives back to its community. We’re an agency of hardworking citizens, and your cubicle won’t be anything fancy (but Martha bakes the best cookies in the state). Come help us make a difference.
- Communicate with a diverse range of individuals and families on tax issues, getting information on income, expenses, credits, allowances and more
- Estimate return preparation time and complexity after a quick initial assessment, and complete one project as quickly and thoroughly as possible before moving on to the next
- Keep clients’ taxes as low as feasible through legally allowable credits, deductions and adjustments
- Explain and simplify tax concepts that are often complicated, and give tax planning tips and advice as applicable
- Help people who owe tax to make arrangements for their payments, and assist clients who need help getting refunds deposited
- Check relevant tax law, including statues and handbooks, to ensure proper compliance
- Use TurboTax to prepare and file returns and to help verify the accuracy of returns, and collaborate with co-workers, tax professionals and clients as necessary to ensure completeness of tax returns
- Work without making negative judgments, and keep interactions with clients positive and supportive
Job Skills & Qualifications
- Associate degree or higher in business administration, finance, accounting or a related field
- Familiarity with TurboTax
- Passion for community service
- 3-6 months of experience preparing simple tax returns
- CPA license
- 2-3 years of experience in tax preparation
- Spanish-language fluency
Tax Preparer Job Responsibilities
Due to your role in the hiring process, you are likely already aware of the importance of a creating a specific and precise job responsibilities section in your tax preparer job description to effectively communicate your occupational needs to the community of jobseekers. This will save you time and trouble in the long run, as your applicants will have a clear picture of your expectations from the start.
In accordance with the writing best practices already addressed, be sure to use distinct, informative bullet points that are easy to understand. Each bullet point should begin with an action verb that tells exactly what a tax preparer will do and what the employer expects. In this way, after they read the tax preparer job description, jobseekers will envision themselves in their new role and make good decisions regarding their own suitability for the position. This list should be substantial, but not overwhelming; 6-8 bullet points is adequate.
Following are a few examples of tax preparer job responsibilities:
- Interview clients to accurately ascertain their current financial situation
- Prepare tax documents, both on paper forms and with e-filing software
- Acquire working knowledge of state and federal tax code and communicate it effectively to clients
- Analyze all pertinent financial records, including income statements, and maintain proof of deductible expenses
Tax Preparer Job Specifications
The job qualifications and skills section of your company’s tax preparer job description probably appears to be short, simple, and to the point. However, like the core skills section of a jobseeker’s resume, it is a condensed and powerful statement of what it takes to be an ideal candidate for the open position.
This section performs an important role in limiting your interviewee pool to those candidates who are adequately qualified. If you are unclear when composing this section, you could waste a lot of time and effort later with underqualified or inexperienced jobseekers. If you set it up with accurate expectations, the job description can also help to eliminate overqualified applicants.
To begin with, make sure you are crystal clear in your own understanding of both the requirements for the position and the preferred professional characteristics the potential employee should have. A frank, detailed discussion with your hiring manager should help. Next, communicate these items unmistakably in your tax preparer job description, so each jobseeker will know immediately whether to pursue the position or pass on it.
Read these example tax preparer job specifications for ideas as you write your own:
- Meticulous attention to detail
- Research and analytical ability
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Preference given to candidates with previous tax preparer experience
- Preferred associate’s degree in a directly related field, or equivalent professional experience