Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents determine how much is owed in taxes and collect tax from individuals and businesses on behalf of the government.

Work Environment: Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents work for federal, state, and local governments. Many work primarily in an office environment; others spend most of their time doing field audits in taxpayers’ homes or places of business.

How to Become One: Most tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents need a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. However, the level of education and experience required varies with the position and employer.

Salary: The median annual wage for tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents is $55,640.

Job Outlook: Employment of tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents is projected to decline 4 percent over the next ten years.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a tax examiner or revenue agent with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Tax Examiners Jobs

  • Senior Manager International Tax - Alliance Resource Group - Irvine, CA

    Coordination of tax examinations with various taxing authorities * Planning and research in connection with the above responsibilities * Addresses tax implications of acquisitions including the ...

  • Sr. Tax Accountant - NMB Technologies Corporation - Los Angeles, CA

    Prepares documentation for local, state and federal level returns for submission within specified deadlines. * Assist with preparation for and responses to tax examinations , and internal and ...

  • Tax Manager - City Experiences - San Francisco, CA

    Manage the federal and state income tax examination process and liaison with external auditors and service providers on as needed basis * Manage outside advisers and internal teams to prepare global ...

See all Tax Examiners jobs

Top 3 Revenue Agents Jobs

  • Real Estate Sales Agents - Real Estate at The Firm - Scottsdale, AZ

    The only brokerage that has a GUARANTEED revenue share to our agents , paid to you each month * The only brokerage designed to be a PROFIT center for the agents instead of an expense * Designed by ...

  • Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of California - Executive Director - Envision Consulting - Pleasanton, CA

    EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ABOUT IIABCAL Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of California (IIABCal ... revenue streams. Leading a remote team of 9 employees and 2 contractors, the Executive Director ...

  • P&C & Life Insurance Agents - Oscar Castaneda Agency - Ontario, CA

    This program provides you with the ability to work under one of Farmer's most successful agents ... Boost sales revenue by calling, texting, and emailing potential clients - Generate accurate ...

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What Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents Do[About this section] [To Top]

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents determine how much is owed in taxes and collect tax from individuals and businesses on behalf of federal, state, and local governments. They review tax returns, conduct audits, identify taxes owed, and collect overdue tax payments.

Duties of Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents typically do the following:

  • Review filed tax returns to determine whether credits and deductions claimed are allowed by law
  • Contact taxpayers to address problems and to request supporting documentation
  • Conduct field audits and investigations of income tax returns to verify information or to update tax liabilities
  • Evaluate financial information, using their familiarity with accounting procedures and knowledge of changes to tax laws and regulations
  • Keep records on each case they deal with, including contacts, telephone numbers, and actions taken
  • Notify taxpayers of any overpayment or underpayment and either issue a refund or request additional payment

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents are responsible for ensuring that individuals and businesses pay the appropriate amount of taxes they owe, as prescribed by laws and regulations. In addition to verifying that tax returns are filed properly, they follow up with taxpayers whose returns are questionable or who owe more money.

Different levels of government collect different types of taxes. The federal government deals primarily with personal and business income taxes. State governments collect income and sales taxes. Local governments collect sales and property taxes.

Because many states assess individual income taxes on the basis of the taxpayer's reported federal income, tax examiners working for the federal government report to the states any adjustments or corrections they make. State tax examiners then determine whether the adjustments affect the state taxpayer liability.

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents have different duties and responsibilities:

Tax examiners usually deal with the simplest tax returns: those filed by individual taxpayers who claim few deductions and those filed by small businesses. Tax examiners also may contact individual taxpayers in order to resolve any outstanding problems with their returns.

Much of a tax examiner's job involves making sure that tax credits and deductions claimed by taxpayers are lawful. If a taxpayer owes additional taxes, tax examiners adjust the total amount by assessing fees, interest, and penalties and then notify the taxpayer of the total amount owed.

Revenue agents specialize in tax-related accounting for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and for equivalent agencies in state and local governments. Like tax examiners, they review returns for accuracy. However, revenue agents handle complicated tax returns of large businesses and corporations.

Many experienced revenue agents specialize in a particular area. For example, they may focus exclusively on multinational businesses. Regardless of their specialty, revenue agents must keep up to date with changes in the lengthy and complex tax laws and regulations.

Collectors, also called revenue officers in the IRS, deal with overdue accounts. The process of collecting an overdue payment starts with the revenue agent or tax examiner sending a report to the taxpayer. If the taxpayer makes no effort to pay, the case is assigned to a collector.

When a collector takes a case, he or she first sends a notice to the taxpayer. The collector then works with the taxpayer to settle the debt. Settlement may involve setting up a plan in which the amount owed is paid back in small amounts over time.

When delinquent taxpayers claim that they cannot pay their taxes, collectors investigate and verify the claims. Collectors research information on taxpayer mortgages or financial statements and locate taxpayer-owned items of value through third parties, such as neighbors or local departments of motor vehicles. Ultimately, collectors must decide whether the IRS should take a lien—a claim on an asset such as a bank account, real estate, or an automobile—to settle a debt. Collectors also have the authority to garnish wages—that is, take a portion of earned wages—to collect taxes owed.

Work Environment for Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents[About this section] [To Top]

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents hold about 56,900 jobs. The largest employers of tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents are as follows:

Federal government 44%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 38%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 18%

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents work primarily in an office environment; others spend most of their time conducting field audits in taxpayers' homes or places of business.

Tax Examiner and Collector, and Revenue Agent Work Schedules

Most tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents work full time.

How to Become a Tax Examiner or Collector, or Revenue Agent[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents near you!

Most tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents need a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. However, the required level of education and experience varies with the position and employer.

Education for Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners need a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, or a combination of relevant education and specialized experience in accounting, auditing, or tax compliance work. Candidates for tax examiner positions at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must have a bachelor's degree or 1 year of full-time specialized experience.

Revenue agents need a bachelor's degree in accounting, business administration, economics, or a related discipline. A combination of relevant education and full-time experience in business administration, accounting, or auditing is also qualifying. Revenue agents with the IRS must have either a bachelor's degree or 30 semester hours of accounting coursework, along with specialized experience. Specialized experience includes work in accounting, bookkeeping, or tax analysis.

Collectors usually must have some combination of relevant college education and specialized experience. Specialized experience may include previous work as a loan officer or credit manager, or a background in collections, management, customer service, or tax compliance. A bachelor's degree is needed for employment as a collector with the IRS; no additional experience is required, and experience may not be substituted for the degree. Employers desire degrees in business, finance, accounting, and criminal justice.

Although a bachelor's degree is not always required at the state and local levels, related work experience is desired.

Tax Examiner and Collector, and Revenue Agent Training

Newly hired tax examiners get some formal training, which typically lasts between 1 month and 1 year. All tax examiners must keep current with changes in the tax code and in enforcement procedures.

Entry-level collectors get both formal training and on-the-job training under an instructor's guidance before working independently. Collectors also are encouraged to continue their professional education by attending meetings to exchange information about how modifications to tax laws affect collection methods.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation for Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Some state and local governments accept work experience as a substitute for education. In these cases, employers may hire tax examiners and revenue agents who have work experience as accountants or bookkeepers. Employers may also hire tax collectors who have work experience in related occupations, such as bill and account collectors, customer service representatives, and credit checkers.

Advancement for Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners, revenue agents, and collectors have different opportunities for career advancement. Tax examiners who review individual tax returns may advance to revenue agent positions, working on more complex business returns. Those with experience in supervisory or managerial roles may move to jobs that involve supervision of other examiners and revenue agents. Collectors who demonstrate leadership skills and a thorough knowledge of tax collection activities may advance to supervisory or managerial collector positions.

Important Qualities for Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Analytical skills. Tax examiners and revenue agents must be able to identify questionable claims for credits and deductions. Ultimately, on further review of financial documentation, they must be able to determine if the credits or deductions are lawful.

Computer skills. Tax examiners and revenue agents must be comfortable using a variety of computer programs. These programs include tax preparation and bookkeeping software used by individuals and businesses.

Detail oriented. Tax examiners and revenue agents verify the accuracy of each entry on the tax returns they review. Therefore, it is important that they pay attention to detail.

Interpersonal skills. Collectors must be comfortable dealing with people, including speaking with them during confrontational situations. When pursuing overdue accounts, collectors should be firm and composed.

Organizational skills. Tax examiners and revenue agents often work with multiple returns and a variety of financial documents. Keeping the various pieces of information organized is essential.

Tax Examiner and Collector, and Revenue Agent Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents is $55,640. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,180, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $105,430.

The median annual wages for tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Federal government $59,230
State government, excluding education and hospitals $54,300
Local government, excluding education and hospitals $46,980

Most tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents work full time.

Job Outlook for Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents is projected to decline 4 percent over the next ten years.

Despite declining employment, about 4,400 openings for tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

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Employment of Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Employment of these workers will depend primarily on future changes to federal, state, and local government budgets. Budget reductions in recent years have resulted in decreased hiring for the agencies that employ these workers.

Employment projections data for Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents, 2020-30
Occupational Title Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30
Percent Numeric
Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents 56,900 54,800 -4 -2,100


A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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