How Do I Become a Tax Trainee?

Terry Masters

A person often needs some formal education in accounting to become a tax trainee in a setting that leads to a certified accountant position. There are other tax trainee positions, however, that do not require an accounting background. Some typically only require a proficiency with numbers and calculations or a bachelor's or advanced degree in an area related to taxation, such as law or business.

Becoming a tax trainee begins with deciding the type of taxes that you wish to prepare.
Becoming a tax trainee begins with deciding the type of taxes that you wish to prepare.

Before you become a tax trainee, it is often best to decide the direction of your future career path. Tax training can be offered for a specific tax-related task or as a career development approach. Working with a jurisdiction's tax code can be a matter of learning a specific set of rules that does not require knowledge of accounting. The more specific the task, the less likely you will need formal education in accounting.

For example, you can become a tax trainee who works with individual income tax preparation companies during tax season. In this scenario, you can apply for a training program that will teach you how to prepare basic tax returns according to the tax code. After you successfully complete training, you will work under the guidance of a certified tax professional. The requirements for this type of tax trainee position are typically broad, requiring a bachelor's degree and a demonstrated proficiency with numbers and calculations. Often, the employer will require you to take a test to gain admission into the training program or will even charge a fee for the training.

Corporations and accounting firms will also hire people into a tax trainee program that do not have backgrounds in accounting. Typically, these programs will be advertised for anyone with a bachelor's degree in a major that can relate to taxation, such as law, economic or business. The application process is similar to a business training program, where you should have a high grade point average and demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in a corporate tax department or with an entity that does corporate tax consulting.

A more traditional approach to become a tax trainee is obtain a bachelor's in accounting. With an accounting degree, you can apply for an entry-level position with an accounting firm that specializes in taxation. Beginning accountants are considered trainees until they satisfy their certification or licensing requirements. If you take this route to become a tax trainee, you will likely have to satisfy all of the requirements of a professional position. These requirements often include demonstrating the ability to successfully work with clients and to eventually attract your own clients to the firm.

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