Tax analysts are tax professionals whose careers are centered around giving tax advice and predicting tax consequences, whether for individuals or corporations. In order to become a tax analyst, a person must usually have the ability to understand complex tax codes and apply those codes to a variety of situations. There are many different kinds of tax analyst jobs, and as such, there is no single path one must take to become a tax analyst. Students considering a future as a tax analyst would be wise to study finance, accounting, or business management, however. Degrees in these fields are usually required for any tax analyst job, and are always helpful, besides.
Nearly every country in the world has a tax structure that makes certain demands of its companies, citizens, and those transacting business within its borders. In some countries, such as the United States, individual entities are expected to independently calculate and report the taxes that they owe. In others, such as Spain and France, the government will simply inform people and businesses of how much they owe. Regardless the scheme, people are usually interested in minimizing their tax liabilities. This is where a tax analyst comes in.
A tax analyst is hired to assess a given tax situation, and to offer advice and projections that could help lower the overall tax obligations or business taxes owed over time. Some tax analysts work in big corporations, and others work for small businesses. Some analyze the tax structures of one business, while others study whole sectors of a given market. Some analysts work for individuals, particularly wealthy individuals with substantial investment and other non-traditional income sources. Understanding the different types of tax analyst jobs available is a good first step to ascertaining what it will take to become a tax analyst, or at least to become the kind of tax analyst you have envisioned.
Education is an equally important step. All tax analyst jobs are math-heavy, and all involve the ability to quickly understand dense tax laws and financial regulations. A college or university degree is always required to become a tax analyst, and most of the time that degree must be in accounting, finance, or a related field.
Depending on the job, an advanced degree or accounting certification might also be required. Some tax analysts are also tax lawyers who have been trained to give legal advice on tax structures. Others have master’s of business administration degrees, which enables them to advise a company not only on its tax policy, but also on how its overall structure plays into that policy. Although a tax accountant and a tax analyst perform different roles, some tax analysts are also certified public accountants, which can make them more marketable to a client needing multiple services.
Outside of education, tax experience is a big asset when looking to become a tax analyst. Work in any corporate tax department will prepare a blossoming tax analyst for the rigors and challenges of full time tax analyst work. The same is true for most all tax preparation work. Tax analyst employers often look for potential hires to have not just a strong academic record, but also a pattern and practice of on-the-job success.