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.
HOW MUCH DO TAX ACCOUNTANTS MAKE?
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.
|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.
Median Salary: $69,000
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.
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
Annual Mean Wage: $85,640
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.
|INDUSTRY||ANNUAL 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.
32.7% Change from 2016-2026
24.8% Change from 2016-2026
24.7% Change from 2016-2026
23.6% Change from 2016-2026
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
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 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 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.
Kick off your finance career with one of these affordable online accounting degrees. Compare the top programs, crunch the numbers, and get the best value.
A master's in accounting opens the door to in-demand, lucrative careers. Explore our list of the best master's in accounting online programs for 2021.
Bachelor's degrees in accounting can build strong careers. Become an accountant through an accredited, affordable program that leads to CPA certification.
Search top-tier programs curated by your interests.
Let us know what type of degree you're looking into, and we'll find a list of the best programs to get you there.