The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other related state and local government agencies are very complex and deal with a variety of tax-related issues. Revenue agents are highly trained professionals that specialize in accounting activities that relate to taxes.
What does a revenue agent do?
Revenue agents are accountants that are responsible for ensuring tax returns are accurate for a variety of businesses and organizations by using information compiled by many different government agencies. They review and audit tax returns and handle complicated sales, income, and excise tax returns. Revenue agents are also responsible for identifying fraudulent activity such as withholding of income or inaccurate reporting on tax returns. Revenue agents typically work for local, regional, state, and federal government agencies. Some revenue agents specialize in auditing tax returns of certain industries such as real estate, construction, or retail.
What kind of training does a revenue agent need?
Revenue agents typically have at least a bachelor degree in accounting, business administration, or other related field. A combination of relevant experience and some postsecondary education may be sufficient for some positions. Revenue agents that are employed by the IRS must have a bachelor degree or at least 30 semester hours in accounting and specialized experience. Prospective revenue agents often complete courses in accounting, tax analysis, bookkeeping, and business administration. Many revenue agents begin their careers in other positions working with tax laws and regulations, tax records, and financial accounts. Most employers provide intensive on the job training where new revenue agents attend a variety of classes and seminars. Revenue agents must complete regular continuing education throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with the constant changes in tax laws.
What are the prospects for a career as a revenue agent?
Employment of revenue agents is expected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 13% through 2018 (1). The growing number of businesses and changes in government policies will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be very good with strong competition for IRS positions. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace revenue agents that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do revenue agents make?
As of 2011, revenue agents with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $33,387 and $50,038. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $30,849 and $47,095 (2).
For anyone considering how to become a revenue agent, this is potentially an excellent career choice for individuals with a strong interest in tax-related activities. Revenue agents must have a solid understanding of the tax laws and policies. Strong analytical skills, detail orientation, good organizational skills, and good time management skills are necessary characteristics. Revenue agents must be honest and trustworthy because they work with confidential information. They also need good communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to effectively independently.
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