Tax Accountant Salary Guide

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Tax accountants — often working as certified public accountants, or CPAs — prepare and review tax documents for individuals and companies. They may also advise corporations about how certain financial decisions affect taxation. People who possess a diligent attention to detail and math skills succeed as accountants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for tax accountants will grow 10% in the next decade, which is faster than average.

Use this guide to explore how much tax accountants make and examine industry trends.

Learn More About a Career as a Tax Accountant

HOW MUCH DO TAX ACCOUNTANTS MAKE?

Median Salary

In general, accountants make a median annual salary of $70,500, according to BLS. If you find yourself asking how much does a tax accountant make, it’s important to know that specific salary depends on several factors. For instance, tax accountants earn different pay than management accountants. Location, work experience, and education level also impact pay.

SALARY BY EXPERIENCE

A tax accountant’s salary partially depends on how long they’ve worked in the industry. More experienced accountants can handle more challenges, which makes their work abilities more valuable. The chart below shows how the average salary of a tax accountant grows from entry level to experienced positions.

EXPERIENCESALARY
Entry Level (0-12 Months)$51,000
Early Career (1-4 Years)$55,000
Mid Career (5-9 Years)$63,000
Experienced (10-19 Years)$64,000

Salary by Degree

Tax accountants typically earn a degree in accounting or a related subject. This chart displays the range of salaries an accountant might make, depending on their degree level. Unsurprisingly, master’s graduates see a higher earning potential. Keep in mind, though, that degrees do not guarantee a certain salary, and not every accountant necessarily holds an accounting degree.

BACHELOR’S DEGREE

Median Salary: $69,000

MASTER’S DEGREE

Median Salary: $91,000

CAREER PATH SALARIES

Tax accountants get many possible opportunities for career growth, which usually come by way of promotions, greater responsibility, leadership positions, and higher salaries. This chart displays common promotions that tax accountants might receive, plus the median salary for those positions.

POTENTIAL NEXT STEPSALARY
Senior Tax Accountant$71,477
Tax Manager$96,666
Accounting Manager$70,163

What Are the Top States for Tax Accountant Pay?

Another significant factor relating to accountants’ salaries involves location. Since the cost of living is greater in large cities, metropolitan areas typically pay more than small towns. The states with the greatest annual mean wage remain in the northeastern part of the country. This table shares more information about the top states for tax accountants’ salaries.

  • DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
    Annual Mean Wage: $98,130
  • NEW YORK
    Annual Mean Wage: $96,300
  • NEW JERSEY
    Annual Mean Wage: $90,400
  • VIRGINIA
    Annual Mean Wage: $85,640
  • CONNECTICUT
    Annual Mean Wage: $84,890

WHAT ARE THE TOP INDUSTRIES FOR TAX ACCOUNTANT PAY?

The chart below lists the top industries for tax accountants’ salaries. Tax accountants prepare and submit tax documents for many types of companies, and many profitable companies offer high pay. The federal government also pays accountants relatively high salaries.

INDUSTRYANNUAL MEAN WAGE
School and Employee Bus Transportation$109,250
Federal Executive Branch$100,080
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities$97,000
Other Investment Pools and Funds$96,770
Other Pipeline Transportation$93,590

ARE TAX ACCOUNTANTS IN DEMAND?

Historical Career Growth

Historically, the demand for accounting graduates has grown steadily since 2002. According to a trends report from the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), the 2008 recession caused a sharp drop in demand. Another dip occurred in 2016.

Future Career Growth

While long-term projections show considerable growth for accountants from 2016-2026, most growth may occur after 2020, according to the federally funded Projections Central. Short-term employment projections show the occupation growing anywhere from 0.5%-4% in several states through 2020, with outliers in a few states reaching 5%-6%.

Top States for Job Growth

Currently the states with the greatest number of accountants include highly populated states such as California, Texas, and New York; however, according to the BLS, states with lower populations may see the greatest growth from 2016-2026. Utah, for instance, is the 30th most-populous state, but it will likely see a huge influx of accountants in the next decade.

Utah

32.7% Change from 2016-2026

Colorado

24.8% Change from 2016-2026

Tennessee

24.7% Change from 2016-2026

Nevada

23.6% Change from 2016-2026

Florida

20% Change from 2016-2026

HOW DO TAX ACCOUNTANTS COMPARE TO OTHER ACCOUNTING CAREERS?

Often, organizations or data sources group tax accountants together with tax preparers or auditors. Some people might also consider tax accountants to complete the same work as government accountants or management accountants. These positions include different job descriptions and functions. Auditors, for instance, examine an organization’s financial records to check for any money mismanagement. And while tax accountants prepare and review tax documents for companies or individual accountants, government accountants review incoming taxes and ensure that government organizations spend tax revenue lawfully.

Read on for a brief comparison between these similar occupations regarding the median mid-career annual income from PayScale data:

  • Tax Preparer: $41,203
  • Auditor: $62,837
  • Tax Accountant: $62,905
  • Management Accountant: $65,520

TAKE THE FIRST STEP IN YOUR CAREER TODAY

EXPLORE ACCOUNTING DEGREE PROGRAMS 
LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT TAX ACCOUNTANTS DO 
EXPLORE MORE ABOUT TAX ACCOUNTANTS 

LEARN MORE ABOUT TAX ACCOUNTANT SALARIES AND JOB GROWTH

  • Projections Central
    Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, this website provides projections about industry demand and employment rates. Users can compare numbers for various occupations and examine long-term and short-term trends.
  • BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook
    In addition to the figures cited in this guide, the BLS occupational outlook handbook offers plenty of other government-gathered data about salaries, job outlook, and education needed to find certain jobs.
  • PayScale
    PayScale analyzes data to determine median salaries of many different professions. The website also provides descriptions of those professions in addition to information about similar careers and how to climb the job ladder.
  • AICPA Trends Report
    The AICPA has published a report about employment trends for accountants since 1971. The report offers in-depth information about new hires in the industry and the number of accounting graduates each year.
  • Investopedia
    Investopedia functions as an online encyclopedia relating specifically to the finance world. The site offers an entire section on accounting careers, outlining different types of accounting jobs and offering advice on how to become an accountant.
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