What Qualifications Do I Need to Get an Accounting Job with the IRS?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employs nearly 95,000 people, many of whom are accounting, business and finance professionals. If you’re seeking a career with this federal bureau, the first thing you will need is a college education, complete with plenty of accounting courses.

Entry-Level Positions with the IRS

If you’re just starting out in the field, you will be looking at entry-level accounting jobs with the IRS. To become an entry-level Internal Revenue Agent, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related subject from an accredited academic institution, according to the IRS. You must have taken no less than 30 semester hours of accounting courses, including classes in subjects such as finance, economics, statistical methods, business law or computerized accounting. Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is also beneficial. As an entry-level Internal Revenue Agent, you may work in one of several divisions, including appeals, small business, large business, tax exempt, and taxpayer advocacy.

If you don’t have 30 semester hours in accounting, another business and finance position might be of interest to you. As long as you took at least six semester hours of accounting studies as part of your business or finance degree, or if you can earn a passing grade an accounting proficiency test, you have the qualifications to pursue a career as an IRS Tax Specialist or a Tax Compliance Officer. If you took at least 12 hours accounting courses, you could seek a Senior Tax Specialist position.

Advanced Opportunities with the IRS

For candidates who already have real-world accounting experience, the bureau offers a position called the Senior Internal Revenue Agent in the Large Business and International Division, according to the IRS. These seasoned professionals work in a variety of specialized roles, including:

  • Computer Audit Specialists
  • Employment Tax Specialists
  • Financial Products and Transactions Examiners
  • International Examiners

These opportunities are often second careers for accounting professionals who have worked in the public or private sector and who want to put their accounting skills and experience to good use serving their country. Another advanced position with the IRS is the role of Appeals Officer. Some advanced opportunities might require that candidates earned at least a 3.0 GPA in college and/or completed a minimum of one year of graduate school in addition to having experience, the Houston Chronicle reported.

There are many reasons to pursue a job with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS isn’t just one of the largest employers of accounting professionals, but also one that provides numerous advantages. Employees of the IRS receive benefits such as health insurance and a retirement fund. They have plenty of opportunities for advancement, as well as the chance to increase their knowledge through continuing education. Entry-level accounting professionals at the IRS typically earn annual salaries in the range of $45,771 to $59,505, while senior professionals at the highest pay rate can make $99,628 to $129,517 per year, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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