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Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents

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Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents Overview

The jobs of tax examiners, collectors and revenue agents are all employees of the Federal State and local governments. Many of the workers have a bachelor’s degree, but experience in the field is very important. Growth in the field is average, with openings occurring mainly to workers retiring. The most competition for job openings will be with the Internal Revenue Service.

Nature of the Work for Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents

The jobs of tax collectors will always be present with the need to review tax returns, conducting tax audits, identifying taxes due, and collecting overdue taxes from businesses and private citizens.

The job of a tax examiner is the same at the State or local level. Checking returns for accuracy, including deductions allowed and tax credits are part of the job. Examiners working for the Federal Government report any adjustments or corrections to the State, with the examiner determining whether adjustments will affect the taxpayer’s State tax liability.

The simplest tax return or those filed by individuals with very few deductions or by small businesses are handled by the tax examiner. Entry level tasks include clerical duties such as reviewing tax returns and entering them into the system for processing.

The tax examiner will also check returns for accuracy in math, and ensuring that reported amounts match those reported by sources such as banks, and employers and checking and verifying social security numbers.

Requesting supporting documentation and addressing discrepancies on returns are also the job of the examiner. Adjustments to the return, notifying customers of overpayments or underpayments and requesting further payments or issuing refunds are also part of the examiner’s duties.

Entry-level agents might start off handling small business matters and after developing expertise in their field will start to handle tax returns of larger corporations.

Use of computers is important for revenue agents to analyze data and help to locate tax offenders.

Agents on the State level have duties similar to those in the Federal Government, but must also need to consider sales and income taxes for their own States.

Local agents still perform field audits and office audits of businesses, as well as for individuals. Local agents must also be knowledgeable of local laws regarding income, utility fees, or school taxes.

Collectors deal with the delinquent accounts of taxpayers. If no effort is made to resolve or pay the delinquent account, then a collector is assigned. The use of computers is important for the collector.

Collectors at the State level decide whether to take actions on returns filed in the State where they work. Local collectors usually have less power than those at the State or Federal level.

Tax examiners, collectors and revenue officers usually work in offices; however, some travel may be necessary. Local agents usually work in city halls or municipal buildings. Collectors may travel to courthouses, businesses, and even to taxpayer’s homes as well.

Stress can result from having to deal with deadlines or facing the unpleasant tasks of confronting delinquent taxpayers.

The workweek is usually 40 hours although some overtime may be necessary during the tax season.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Recommended Education Level

A bachelor’s degree is common for tax examiners, collectors and revenue agents.

A bachelor’s degree is required for employment in the Federal Government, or a combination of education and experience. Training seminars are to be expected after you are hired to wok for IRS. In the State and local governments, an associate degree, and some college level business classes and experience are required.

Tax examiners usually hold bachelor’s degree in accounting or have a combination of education and work-related experience in accounting, auditing or tax compliance work.

Collectors usually have a combination of college and experience in collections, management, tax compliance, and as a credit or loan officer. Collectors must have bachelor’s degrees to be employed with the IRS. Experience may not be substituted for the degree, and having one in accounting, finance, business, and criminal justice are good backgrounds.

Training for entry level collectors is provided on the job under an instructor’s guidance. Training can last for almost one year, and by the second year can receive advance technical instruction as they get seniority.

Revenue agents usually require a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business related areas and a combination of education and full-time classes in business related coursework may be acceptable. Those agents working for the IRS must have bachelor’s degrees or at least 30 hours of accounting courses with some specialized experience such as working in tax analysis, bookkeeping or accounting.

The ability to negotiate and communicate effectively is also important for a tax collector.

Revenue agents need strong organizational and analytical skills, along with good management skills. Working independently is important as much time is spent working alone.

A valid and current driver’s license is necessary as travel is often required.

The potential for advancement for tax examiners, revenue agents, and collectors varies within the departments. For jobs outside of the government, a licensing exam can be taken to become an enrolled agent.

Advancement for collectors who demonstrate leadership skills is possible by exhibiting their knowledge of collection activities and can move into supervisory or managerial positions. Managers and supervisors are the ones who oversee the collections activity of the other officers.

Revenue agents that are newly hired expand their knowledge by consulting auditing manuals and other sources for more detailed information about individual industries. A revenue agent may assist in criminal investigations, audit books of suspected criminals, and help in grand jury indictments.

Top 10 Most Popular Accounting & Related Services Schools

1. University of Phoenix (Multiple Campus Locations)
2. American InterContinental University (Multiple Campus Locations)
3. CUNY Bernard M Baruch College (New York, New York)
4. University of Illinois, Urbana, Champaign (Champaign, Illinois)
5. Strayer University (Multiple Campus Locations)
6. University of Houston (Houston, Texas)
7. The University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas)
8. Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah)
9. University of Central Florida (Orlando, Florida)
10. Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan)

See All Accounting & Related Services Schools

Top 10 Most Popular Online Accounting & Related Services Schools

1. University of Phoenix - Online School
2. Purdue University Global
3. Ashworth College - Online School
4. Ashford University - Online
5. South University, Online Programs
6. American InterContinental University - Online School
7. Saint Leo University Online
8. Colorado Technical University - Online School
9. Strayer University - Online School
10. Walden University - Online School

See All Online Accounting & Related Services Schools

Employment and Job Outlook for Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Number of People in Profession


Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).

In the IRS, the tax examiners and revenue agents are the predominate roles of the agency. Collectors make up a smaller portion, due to the fact that most tax liabilities will not require enforcement of collection.

There will be a demand for new tax examiners, revenue agents and tax collectors as changes in government policy towards tax enforcement and also from the growth in the amount of businesses.

A demand for revenue agents and tax collectors will be the result of the Federal Government increasing its tax enforcement efforts and new technology amongst tax agencies making it easier to find offenders, increasing the number of cases for collection and audit.

The trend to contract work out to private-sector collection agencies in order to reduce costs will have an adverse effect on the work of tax examiners.

Many job openings in the future are expected to be created with the large number of retirements expected. State and Federal tax agencies continue to focus on higher income taxpayers whose returns are more complicated.

The economy will have an impact on the employment of workers at the State and local levels. If the economy is weakened, hiring freezes and worker lay offs will be in response to the budget tightening.

Earnings and Salary for Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Median annual wages for all tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents are $48,550. The middle 50 percent earn between $37,240 and $67,330. The bottom 10 percent earn less than $28,990, and the top 10 percent earn more than $90,940.

Annual Salary for Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents

On average, Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents earn $48,550 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $28,990/yr $37,240/yr $67,330/yr $90,940/yr

Hourly Wage for Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents

On average, Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents earn $23.34 per hour.

10% 25% 75% 90% $13.94 $17.90 $32.37 $43.72

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook