Helping Others by Crunching Numbers: A Profile of Tax Preparers
Most people dread income tax time. It means a bevy of paperwork, organization, and possibly money owed to the government. Tax preparers ease that burden by handling the many documents, forms, and calculations required to complete an income tax return. It is a highly rewarding career that allows you to help countless people complete a very complicated process and even save money.
Tax preparers often work with individuals, but can also assist companies or organizations. They are tasked with completing income tax returns that are required to be submitted to the government. Tax preparers ensure these returns are finalized with the utmost accuracy. In addition, they strive to reduce the amount their client owes by utilizing deductions, claims, or exemptions as per Canadian law. This can mean the difference between a customer owing hundreds of dollars to actually receiving a refund from the government.
In Canada, tax preparers can expect to earn an average hourly wage of $17.07. Salaries can start at minimum wage, and increase to over $28 per hour. The work is heavily seasonal as tax preparation occurs in the months leading up to the April 30 deadline to submit returns. Preparers can expect to work long days in the final weeks prior to that date. Being able to handle stressful periods of many hours of work is essential, as is handing large amounts of data. You must pay attention to a plethora of details. You are rewarded with being able to work with a great variety of clients and helping make a big difference for those who seek out your help.
There was a 2.0% growth in the tax preparation industry from 2012 to 2017. This is expected to continue and even accelerate as economic conditions improve and lead to greater employment overall. As more people work and earn salaries, more tax returns will have to be filled out. The greatest competition you will face is from the growing number of free, online tax preparation services. Tax preparers can stand out by offering a human touch, one-on-one consultation with clients, and handling more complex returns.
The educational requirements for tax preparation vary greatly. A minimum of completion of high school is required. If you are working on tax returns for businesses or corporations, you will likely need post-secondary education and registration as a Chartered Professional Accountant. As tax preparers work seasonally, many will simultaneously work other jobs or attend school. This provides great flexibility and ample opportunity to pursue other interest, or progress to higher-paying positions such as Accountant and Bookkeeper.
Tax preparers have a daunting challenge put before them. Tax returns are long, complex, and allow no room for errors. For those up to the challenge, it is a very rewarding career with a great amount of freedom for other work or schooling. If this sounds like your ideal job, ensure you are filling out your tax return annually and offer to do the same for family. From there, you can complete the needed schooling and gain experience to find employment. In doing so, you can find fulfillment in something that many others dread.
IBISWorld. “Tax Preparation Services – Canada Market Research Report.” https://www.ibisworld.ca/industry-trends/market-research-reports/professional-scientific-technical-services/tax-preparation-services.html
PayScale. “Tax Preparer Salary.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Tax_Preparer/Hourly_Rate