It's tax time, and tax preparation storefronts are popping up across the country. To man these temporary offices, firms, such as H&R Block, are hiring tens of thousands of workers to answer the phones, meet with customers and complete tax documentation. In addition, accounting firms are ramping up their workload and bringing on seasonal employees to help. Whether you have an accounting degree or are simply good with numbers, tax season means more jobs.
Seasonal jobs for tax professionals
According to job site Monster.com, H&R Block generally hires 80,000 tax professionals to work from January through April. The vast majority of those -- 90 percent -- receive training through the company's income tax course, which provides 69 hours of instruction for a fee. Meanwhile, Jackson Hewitt offers both online and in-person training opportunities for its seasonal workforce. Depending on the location, this training may be free or require a fee from participants.
However, tax preparation firms don't hire just tax professionals during the spring. H&R Block, for example, also hires tax office administration workers who provide support services. Overall, the company hires seasonal workers for the following positions:
- Office leader
- Tax professional
- Client services
- Administrative services
However, chains aren't the only ones looking for extra help. Many accounting firms bring on additional employees to work through the crush of tax documentation that must be completed by April. Writing for Intuit Accountants, Pat Porter, the human resources director at Rea & Associates, says his firm generally hires temporary workers from mid-January through mid-April. Many of these are individuals who return to the firm to work year after year.
Working for the tax man
In addition to working for the tax preparation and accounting firms, you can also find seasonal work with the tax man himself. Yes, the IRS hires temporary workers each year to be data transcribers, clerks, tax examiners and contract representatives. For military veterans, there may be special perks and considerations for those wishing to work seasonally for the IRS.
Training and education for IRS workers can vary significantly depending upon the position. Some jobs may be available for those with only a high school diploma while others may require an associate or bachelor's degree. A full listing of seasonal opportunities is available through the IRS website.
Finding temporary tax jobs
Most tax firms begin the hiring process during the preceding fall. H&R Block begins offering its tax preparation courses in September, and Porter advises accounting firms to start evaluating their need for seasonal help by December.
Accounting firms may advertise positions or seek out referrals from current employees while tax preparation companies may accept applications online as well.
Turning a seasonal job into a career
Being a temporary tax worker will bring in some extra spending money, but it won't make you rich. However, with the right education, you may be able to parlay your experience into a more lucrative career.
According to the Bureau of Labors Statistics, accountants and auditors are in-demand and can expect to earn above average salaries. From 2008 to 2018, positions for these professionals are expected to grow 22 percent. In 2010, full-time accountants and auditors earned mean annual wages of $68,960.
To work as an accountant, you typically need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. A master's degree in accounting or an MBA with an accounting focus may also increase your employment options.
Don't settle for just a seasonal job when you can have an exciting career. A degree in accounting may put you on the fast-track to a job that can keep you busy all year long.