CAREER DEVELOPMENT / APR. 18, 2014
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How to Become a Tax Adviser

Do you have excellent mathematical and problem-solving skills? Can you think analytically and are interested in business and finance? If you answer yes to these questions, then you could make a great tax adviser. To be successful in this job, you would need to also have excellent written and spoken communication skills, a high level of accuracy and attention to detail, and the ability to work well under pressure.

What do Tax Advisers do?

As a tax adviser, you would be advising clients on the correct amount they should pay in taxes and the time they should do that. You would also need to help clients in restructuring their finances in order to avoid paying too much in taxes.

As a tax adviser, you would spend your time at work performing these tasks:

  • meeting clients and collecting information
  • checking and completing tax returns
  • auditing clients’ tax records
  • explaining tax laws to clients and finding ways to reduce their tax liabilities
  • producing reports or presentations for clients
  • liaising and negotiating with HM Revenue and Custom on the client’s behalf
  • keeping up to date with tax law.

 

Depending on the employer, you could be also required to do some accounting.

Tax advisers could work with large multinational companies, smaller business, and individuals.

You would specialise in one of the two areas of taxation:

  • compliance - calculating how much tax is due and completing tax returns
  • consultancy - advising clients on ways to reduce the amount of tax they have to pay. 

Entry Requirements

 

To work as a tax adviser, you would need to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). To qualify for registration with CIOT, you would need to be a member of the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT), or alternatively:

In theory, you do not need to have set qualifications to become an ATT-qualified taxation technician. In practice, all employers ask for at least some GCSEs (A-C) and most tax advisers have degrees in accountancy, business, or law.

ATT has the following entry requirements for taxation technicians:

  • passing four ATT Certificates of Competency (those who have A levels or a BTEC HNC/HND or degree in law or accounting are exempt from some of the ATT exams)
  • having at least two years' practical experience of UK taxation.

After becoming an ATT-qualified technician, you should apply for student membership with CIOT student membership of CIOT and take exams to get the chartered tax adviser status.

Hours and Income

Tax advisers normally work standard office hours, Monday to Friday. Some overtime may be available during busy tax periods. Most of the time you will be based at office with some occasional trips to audit clients.

The following are the estimated levels of salary for tax advisers in the UK, according to the National Career Service:

 

Tax Adviser Salaries

 Minimum

 Maximum

Entry Level

£19,000

£25,000

Part-qualified Advisers

£25,000

£35,000

Fully-qualified Chartered Advisers

£35,000

£50,000

Opportunities and Career Development

As a tax adviser, you could find employment with an accountancy firm, a specialist tax consultancy, or a large company with its own in-house tax department. With experience, you would have a choice of either becoming a self-employed individual tax consultant or opening your own tax consultancy.

For further general reading about the profession of a tax consultant and current job openings, see:

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