Tax Manager Salary Guide

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Updated October 13, 2022 · 5 Min Read

Tax manager salaries exceed the national averages. Learn what paths professionals can take to have the biggest impact on their future earnings.

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Every organization and employed person pays taxes. Within organizations, tax managers tackle the biggest and most complex tax requirements. They help businesses adjust to changing tax rules, internal growth, and expansion into new markets.

According to Deloitte's Tax Transformation-Trends Survey, contemporary tax leaders need to provide more business strategy insight, modernize operations, and adapt to the digital shift.

This professional evolution could lead to more and higher-paying opportunities for tax managers skilled in these areas.

Explore this guide to learn more about the tax manager salary outlook and how various aspects of the professional landscape impact how much tax managers make.

How Much Does a Tax Manager Make?

According to Payscale, the average annual tax manager salary is $100,403 as of August 2022. Base salaries fall between $76,000-$131,000, and bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions add between $1,000-$20,000.

Many factors impact these wages, including education, specialization, experience, location, and industry.

Often, professionals with more advanced credentials have access to the higher-paying positions, employers, and industries.

$100,403
Tax Managers
Average Annual Salary, August 2022

Source: PayScale

Average Tax Manager Salary by Education

Salaries often respond to a person's education level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), master's degree-holders made a $240 more weekly than bachelor's degree-holders in 2021.

For accounting professionals, credentials like the certified public accountant (CPA) certification also contribute to higher earnings.

While education does influence tax manager salaries, the impact appears less significant than experience and certification.

However, an advanced degree can accelerate the path to become a tax manager, leading to higher salaries more quickly. Professionals with graduate degrees and CPA certifications also have access to more management opportunities.

A master's degree satisfies the educational requirements for CPA certification, while bachelor's graduates require additional training. The specializations in master's programs also help prepare graduates for unique tax management roles, such as those in corporations and international organizations.

Salary by Experience

Experience impacts tax management careers in many ways. Most professionals need a significant amount of tax accounting experience to qualify for management roles in the first place. Their responsibilities and salaries then grow with experience.

Over time, professionals earn various raises and bonuses based on their performance and time investments. Experience can also qualify tax managers for more specialized roles, which may pay higher wages or offer more rewarding opportunities.

The starkest salary jumps come between entry-level, early-career, and mid-level management positions.

Salary by Location

Tax manager salaries vary by location due to factors like cost of living, regional demand, and local industries.

The tables below spotlight the top-paying states and metropolitan areas for financial managers, a group that encompasses tax managers.

Top-paying states like New York and New Jersey, and regions in California, have significant financial industries and a high cost of living, resulting in high salaries.

Locations like Delaware and Colorado are substantial financial services hubs, which contribute their strong financial management salaries.

These hubs often grow within densely populated urban areas with strong infrastructures and local commerce. In some cases, a single substantial organization or a few impactful businesses in a city or state can increase the average salary for that entire region.

Top-Paying States for Financial Managers, 2021
State Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York 49,010 $206,990
Delaware 2,400 $191,020
New Jersey 26,570 $186,890
Colorado 8,510 $174,890
District of Columbia 7,820 $174,220

Source: BLS

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Financial Managers, 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 60,600 $209,100
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 9,590 $201,330
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 20,350 $188,900
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 6,560 $185,130
Greeley, CO 240 $184,520

Source: BLS

Where Should I Work as a Tax Manager?

Tax rules and regulations continue to change, sometimes growing more complex. While general tax accountants handle many of these tasks, tax managers oversee these professionals and many of the analytical responsibilities of the job.

As a result, the BLS projects the addition of more than 9,000 management positions in the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services industry between 2021 and 2031.

This brings the total number of managers to over 110,000. While advancements in accounting technology may decrease the amount of data entry these professionals perform, it may also enhance their analytical capabilities.

Aspiring tax managers can improve their employment chances by pursuing fast-growing industries or positions in booming locations. For example, professionals who specialize in international or e-commerce taxes may have additional opportunities.

+9%
Tax Managers
Change in Projected Employment from 2021-2031

Source: BLS

Best Areas

While tax managers can work in any location that offers advanced tax services, financial services jobs tend to cluster in areas with a large concentration of people and companies, such as city centers and commerce hubs.

States and regions with the largest populations and most economic activity tend to host the most tax and financial management occupations.

Remote and virtual accounting services help spread out the tax management workforce. In a 2018 ConvergenceCoaching survey, nearly all CPA firms supported remote work.

Since then, pandemic-forced remote work and advancements in remote technology have accelerated the transition to more flexible work for accounting and tax professionals.

Prospective tax managers might consider moves into expanding markets, such as Arizona and Utah, two of the fastest-growing populations and economies in the country. The number of tax and financial management positions in these locations should grow, and emerging positions and opportunities within new organizations and industries may appear.

In the tables below, we highlight the states and regions with the most employment opportunities and projected growth.

Along with evaluating the size of the workforce and the number of jobs available, aspiring managers should consider how the chosen location might influence their cost of living, certification requirements, and competition.

Top-Employing States for Financial Managers, 2021
State Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
California 99,790 $166,220
New York 49,010 $206,990
Texas 48,790 $154,240
Illinois 40,690 $143,300
Florida 34,830 $137,890

Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Financial Managers, 2020-30
State Percent Projected Change, 2020-30 Average Annual Openings
Greatest Projected Percentage Increase
Utah 42% 1,120
Arizona 36.4% 1,530
Texas 33.3% 5,230
Florida 30.5% 3,800
Colorado 29.8% 810
Most Projected Average Annual Openings
California 27% 10,760
Texas 33.3% 5,230
New York 24.7% 4,920
Illinois 18.1% 3,950
Florida 30.5% 3,800

Source: Projections Central

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Financial Managers, 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 6,600 $209,100
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 37,650 $160,890
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 32,150 $149,950
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH 25,760 $166,890
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 21,190 $173,050

Source: BLS

Best Industries

Tax managers can work in nearly any industry, but most work in finance and insurance. They may lead a team of tax professionals or oversee an organization's internal tax responsibilities. An industry may feature unique tax rules and requirements, which can influence the wages and opportunities available.

Certain industries pay higher salaries because they require specialized knowledge or credentials, such as in securities and financial investments. Some of the highest salaries come from lucrative industries with a limited number of job openings, including pipeline transportation and computer manufacturing industries.

Aspiring tax managers should consider how their chosen industry might impact their potential wages, opportunities, responsibilities, and career changes. For example, industries may offer financial rewards but have more challenging requirements and responsibilities and less professional flexibility.

Top-Paying Industries for Financial Managers, 2021
Industry Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
Other Information Services 3,690 $213,310
Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil 30 $209,280
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities 43,140 $205,170
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing 980 $203,550
Cable and Other Subscription Programming 290 $199,510

Source: BLS

Top-Employing Industries for Financial Managers, 2021
Industry Number of Financial Managers Employed Mean Annual Salary
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 92,880 $128,740
Management of Companies and Enterprises 80,160 $166,510
Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services 48,510 $164,260
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities 43,140 $205,170
Insurance Carriers 27,880 $170,260

Source: BLS

Questions About How Much Tax Managers Make

What are the highest-paying tax manager jobs?

According to October 2022 Payscale data, the highest-paying tax manager jobs belong to professionals with more than 20 years of experience. The average tax manager salary for this group exceeded $107,000 annually.

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

The best state for tax managers depends on the person and their priorities. According to the BLS, California and New York have the largest financial management workforces, while New York and Delaware pay the highest wages.

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

The best industry likely varies for each individual tax manager. Most financial managers work in credit intermediation, company management, and accounting and tax preparation services, per the BLS. The highest-paying industries include other information services, pipeline transportation, and securities and financial investments.

What do tax managers do?

Tax managers may run tax preparation service teams that help individual taxpayers, or they can handle the tax requirements for organizations. These professionals ensure people and organizations pay all taxes on time and accurately, while also helping clients avoid overpayments and audits.

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