Tax Consultant Salary Guide

Updated September 30, 2022 · 5 Min Read

How much does a tax consultant make? The answer depends on your education, experience, credentials, and the clients you serve. Learn more with this complete tax accountant salary guide.

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Tax professionals are poised to experience continued career demand. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 136,400 annual job openings from 2021 to 2031 for accountants and auditors, a broad career category that includes tax experts.

This growth reflects two different groups' needs: Individual taxpayers often struggle to find savings in a fast-changing, increasingly complex tax landscape. Similarly, corporate clients seek to avoid running afoul of tax authorities.

These factors combine to create a positive outlook for tax consultant and strategy specialist jobs. Our page offers a detailed explanation of the factors that influence tax advisors' salary potential. It examines the impact of education, certification, experience, location, industry of employment, and more.

How Much Do Tax Consultants Make?

$62,610
Tax Consultants
Average Annual Salary, September 2022

Source: PayScale

Payscale data from September 2022 shows the average annual salary for tax consultants is $62,610. Those earning salaries in the 10th percentile average $51,000 per year. At the 90th percentile, tax strategists earn around $84,000 per year.

Tax consultants also have the potential to add to their earnings through bonuses and other forms of additional compensation. According to September 2022 Payscale data, these professionals can earn up to $16,000 per additional source of income annually.

Tax Advisor Salary by Education

Tax advisors have varied academic backgrounds. Some hold bachelor's or master's degrees in accounting, while others earned specialized taxation degrees.

In other cases, tax consultants move into the field after building careers as accountants, tax law specialists, or tax preparers. Tax advisors who prepare and submit returns for their clients must hold a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Those who represent clients in their dealings with the IRS require enrolled agent certification.

The following table displays Payscale salary data associated with the degrees and certifications tax advisors commonly hold. Note that this data is not specific to tax consultants, as the information covers all professionals holding the following credentials.

The Payscale data above suggests that building targeted taxation expertise may lead to higher salaries. For example, professionals with master's degrees in taxation and certified public accountant (CPA) accounting credentials earn significantly more money than their counterparts with only a bachelor's degree.

Salary by Experience

Tax advisors' earning potential tends to increase with experience. The knowledge and insights acquired through years of consulting support better job performance. As such, their pay rates tend to rise as their careers advance.

Payscale data for tax consultants is limited. Instead, the table below details average salaries for tax accountants — a similar taxation-related profession — at various stages of their careers.

Salary by Location

Location can also significantly impact a tax professional's earning potential. Two major factors relate to local living costs and job market dynamics. Salaries tend to rise in areas with high local demand for tax experts, including densely populated areas with many businesses and individual clients.

Employers tend to pay higher salaries in areas with higher living costs. However, because these regions are more expensive, the corresponding increased wages may have reduced buying power compared to lower salaries in less expensive areas.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not specifically track data for tax consultants. Instead, the tables below feature BLS information for tax preparers, a job similar to tax consultant. The BLS also gathers data for financial examiners and accountants, two other careers whose duties overlap with tax consulting. Thus, you may also wish to research financial examiner and accountant and auditor data and projections.

Top-Paying States for Tax Preparers, 2021
State Number of Tax Preparers Employed Average Annual Salary
Alaska N/A $80,710
Colorado 1,780 $67,620
Massachusetts 1,730 $62,970
California 8,310 $60,140
Texas 9,980 $59,380

Source: BLS

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Tax Preparers, 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Tax Preparers Employed Average Annual Salary
Anchorage, AK N/A $81,880
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 630 $79,470
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 1,110 $73,170
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX N/A $70,190
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 800 $69,570

Source: BLS

Where Should I Work as a Tax Consultant?

The BLS publishes job growth projections for specific careers in its Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). The OOH does not feature an entry for tax consultants or tax preparers. Instead, the data below reflects BLS projections for all accountants and auditors.

+6%
Accountants and Auditors
Change in Projected Employment from 2021-2031

Source: BLS

Despite a lack of specific BLS data for tax consultants, other trends offer potential insights into the profession's outlook. For example, in August 2022, the United States Congress passed a bill granting the IRS $80 billion in funding to enhance its enforcement capabilities.

This could prompt a corresponding rise in demand for tax advisors: Because individual taxpayers and businesses may face more IRS scrutiny as a result of this funding package, they may turn to tax consultants more often to find savings while remaining compliant with taxation laws.

Best Areas

The BLS does not track job or salary data specifically for tax consultants. Instead, the tables below draw on BLS statistics for tax preparers, a similar career.

BLS data indicates tax preparer jobs tend to cluster in densely populated regions. Projections Central data shows that California, Florida, and Texas — some of the most populous states in the U.S. — are expected to have the highest annual job openings for tax preparers from 2020 to 2030.

Top-Employing States for Tax Preparers, 2021
State Number of Tax Preparers Employed Average Annual Salary
Texas 9,980 $59,380
California 8,310 $60,140
Florida 6,880 $44,370
New York 6,610 $58,760
Pennsylvania 2,960 $49,590

Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Tax Preparers, 2020-30
State Percent Projected Change, 2020-30 Average Annual Openings
Greatest Projected Percentage Increase
Utah 37.3% 190
Colorado 28.2% 210
Wyoming 25.0% 10
Massachusetts 23.0% 340
Florida 22.9% 1,100
Most Projected Average Annual Openings
California 5.3% 1,350
Florida 22.9% 1,100
Texas 13.9% 900
New York 3.8% 570
Illinois 10.7% 460

Source: Projections Central

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Tax Preparers, 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Tax Preparers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 6,240 $60,730
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 2,750 $50,680
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 2,000 $59,200
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 1,750 $46,160
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-VA-MD-WV 1,720 $54,590

Source: BLS

Best Industries

Tax consultants work in many settings. Some hold permanent positions within accounting and tax management firms. Others work for tax law practices or offer their services as independent professionals.

Large accounting and tax consulting firms typically host a variety of in-house positions. These appeal to professionals at various career stages and offer career options to newly established tax strategists seeking to build knowledge through hands-on experience.

Independent self-employment is often particularly viable for well-established tax advisors with existing clients. Building a profitable tax consulting business without proven experience or an existing client base may prove challenging.

Since the BLS does not provide data for tax advisors, the following tables use the agency's data for tax preparers. Top-paying industries include enterprise management, legal services, and insurance. Top-employing industries include companies offering accounting services, consulting, and financial services.

Top-Paying Industries for Tax Preparers, 2021
Industry Number of Tax Preparers Employed Average Annual Salary
Management of Companies and Enterprises 160 $74,660
Legal Services N/A $70,260
Insurance Carriers 30 $70,220
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities 210 $69,160
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services 2,480 $69,060

Source: BLS

Top-Employing Industries for Tax Preparers, 2021
Industry Number of Tax Preparers Employed Average Annual Salary
Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services 79,090 $50,390
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services 2,480 $69,060
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and other Financial Investments and Related Activities 210 $69,160
Management of Companies and Enterprises 160 $74,660
Employment Services 120 $50,630

Source: BLS

Questions About Tax Consultant Income

How much does a tax consultant make?

Payscale data from September 2022 indicates the average tax consultant salary is $62,610 per year. Payscale also indicates that tax consultants can earn up to $16,000 annually per additional source of income like bonuses or commissions.

What are the highest-paying tax consultant jobs?

According to Payscale, tax consultants with salaries in the 90th percentile earned base salaries of approximately $84,000 per year as of September 2022.

Where is the best state to work as a tax consultant?

According to the BLS, Texas, California, and Florida are among the states with the highest employment for tax preparers as of 2021. These professionals earn the highest average salaries in Alaska, Colorado, and Massachusetts.

What is the best industry to work in as a tax consultant?

The largest employer of tax preparers is the accounting, tax prep, bookkeeping, and payroll services industry, according to the BLS. This sector accounts for more than 79,000 tax preparer jobs as of 2021.

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