What is a Senior Tax Specialist?

Written By Accounting-Degree.org Staff

After working as a tax specialist for at least three years, many tax specialists graduate to the title of senior tax specialist. In this position, they receive a significant salary boost while performing many of the same duties related to tax preparation and accounting. A senior tax specialist may stay in this position permanently or seek to move up into managerial positions.

Average Salary of Senior Tax Specialist

In the United States, a senior tax specialist can expect to make an average of $64,000 each year. Their aptitude in skills such as consulting and knowledge of tax compliance can greatly affect their earning potential. On occasion, a senior tax specialist may work as a senior tax manager which nearly doubles their expected annual salary to approximately $120,000.

Educational Requirements and Skills of a Senior Tax Specialist

A senior tax specialist is an experienced tax specialist who has advanced in his or her career, attaining the title and responsibilities of senior tax specialist. As such, many of the certification and education requirements for a senior tax specialist are the same as that of an entry-level tax specialist. Becoming an enrolled agent may be the first step towards a career as a tax specialist, but to become a senior tax specialist, a bachelor’s (and sometimes even master’s) degree in accounting or tax law is required, according to the National Association of Enrolled Agents. Senior tax specialists are also required to pass the same certification exams as any other tax specialists, and they are typically required to continue their education periodically since tax law and procedure is constantly changing. This will guarantee they have the most current information on tax and are able to give the final say when reviewing tax documents. Senior tax specialists should have strong communication and computer skills, flexibility to work additional or varying hours and exceptional analytical skills. At least three to four years of experience is required to become a senior tax specialist.

Responsibilities of a Senior Tax Specialist

Senior tax specialists are responsible for having extensive knowledge of accounting, tax law and auditing to perform duties related to tax preparation. They often compile information and do research pertaining to sales tax and asset reports while ensuring accounts payable and inventory reports are in compliance with current tax laws. Senior tax specialists who work as the acting accountant for an individual company are responsible for day-to-day tax and finance concerns and identifying any issues that may come up when preparing or filing tax documents for the government.

Career Path of a Senior Tax Specialist

Senior tax specialists often start out as enrolled agents or entry-level tax specialists, working as accountants or sometimes managers. Through experience and continued education in their field, tax specialists can pursue promotions to senior tax specialists within about three years. From there, many senior tax specialists seek to become tax managers or tax compliance managers where they are not only responsible for having a mastery of tax law and compliance but also oversee other tax specialists. This career path could earn them over $20,000 more annually, according to Payscale. Extremely ambitious senior tax specialists might also seek positions as partner in an accounting firm, financial controller or even chief financial officer.

With experience being the major differentiation between a tax specialist and senior tax specialist, it is advisable for accountants to pursue a career as a senior tax specialist. The increase in salary and benefits paired with the stability of an accounting position make the senior tax specialist position a rewarding career.