A tax consultant is a financial professional who advises clients on income taxes, trust and estate taxes, retirement and investment strategies. They are familiar with federal, state and local laws and regulations as well as any changes that affect the taxation of individuals and businesses.
Depending on the industry and type of business, tax consultants can be employed by private consulting firms, accounting firms, government agencies or even operate as independent contractors. They may also specialize in a particular area that requires specialized education or training, such as international or corporate tax law.
The primary qualifications for this profession include a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or business administration. In addition, many people who work in this field have earned their Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credentials from their state’s Board of Accountancy. Some postgraduate students pursue a Master of Science in Taxation to increase their career options.
In this role, you need to have excellent problem-solving and strategic thinking skills. You often use these to look at data and find ways for your clients to save money on taxes or take advantage of tax breaks. You also need strong analytical and organizational skills to review piles of documents, looking for any inconsistencies or errors. You need to be able to clearly communicate your findings and suggestions in a way that is easy for others to understand. You may need to explain complex financial concepts, so you should be comfortable communicating with a variety of audiences. Steuerberater