If you had a temporary job over the holidays, chances are that the end of that job in January or February was perfectly timed to coincide with another seasonal hiring push: tax season. It may not be as much fun as the festive season, but tax season can offer job opportunities with considerable room for growth.
Employment related to tax preparation peaks between January and April each year, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Typically, the number of people employed by tax preparation services swells by about 100K (or 160%) each tax season while the number of people employed by accounting and bookkeeping services expands by about 200K (or 25%).
For a decade now, however, the seasonal peaks have been getting lower. Employment in tax preparation services reached an all-time record high of 242.2K in February, 2010, but has since been declining, reaching 169.8K in February, 2019. This year’s peak could be lower still.
Despite the decline in the overall number of positions nationwide, however, employers are struggling to fill vacancies in a relatively tight labor market. As a testament to that fact, job posting volumes in the ZipRecruiter marketplace for tax preparation workers reached an all-time record high in November and December, 2019, ahead of this year’s tax season.
The proliferation of tax preparation software services is one reason for falling headcounts in the industry. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is another. It has simplified the tax filing process for households and is estimated to have reduced the number of filers who itemize from 46 million in 2017 to about 19 million in 2019.
Nevertheless, there are still plenty of people and businesses seeking help with their taxes, due to rising employment levels, rising numbers of people with 1099 income, and rising numbers of businesses. In addition, thousands of businesses are racing to hire their own dedicated tax managers. Others seek the services of tax lawyers for especially difficult tax returns. Federal, state, and local governments, meanwhile, ramp up hiring of tax examining technicians and clerks.
While some of these jobs require college degrees and licenses or certificates, others—like tax preparer jobs—have no requirements at all in some states, and fairly minimal licensing requirements in others. Building experience as a tax preparer today can help one become a tax services specialist or tax professional down the line—and perhaps even a tax accountant or tax manager, with some additional training and a license. Tax managers typically make more than $100K per year, and tax directors earn about $150K per year, on average, so the growth prospects are attractive.*
On ZipRecruiter right now, the top tax-related job titles are:
- Tax Manager
- Tax Senior
- Tax Accountant
- Tax Preparer
- Tax Services Specialist
- Tax Director
- Tax Professional
- Tax Associate
- Tax Analyst
- Seasonal Tax Preparer
Find more information about what these jobs might pay in different parts of the country at the links.
* Compensation Estimates are from ZipRecruiter’s ZipEstimate model. Note that they are not verified by employers and actual compensation can vary considerably.