n the most recent occupational handbook from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salaries thousands of job fields and occupations were published based on national averages. Similar data can be found online at websites such as Salary.com. In analyzing the data published, students contemplating a career as a tax accountant or other accounting specialty can compare a tax accounting salary to other career options and accounting fields. According to the occupational handbook, the median salary for accounting professionals in the tax preparation and payroll sector was approximately $60,000 per year. The lowest salaries hovered around $36,000, while the highest topped $100,000.
A tax accounting salary, just like any other profession, varies based on the size of the company, the degree a person holds, and the regional economics of their location. Naturally, those professionals with graduate degrees make higher salaries than those with only associate degrees or certificates. Likewise, those professionals in private practice, working for government agencies, or large corporations have some of the highest salaries and best benefit packages. In short, that translates to professionals with certificates or two year degrees working in small companies making the lowest salaries. Professionals with four year degrees working in large companies have some of the highest.
Irregularities and unusual situations exist that allow for tax accounting professionals who do not fit the "norm" to make considerably higher salaries than their equivalent peers, just as there are situations where their salaries may be significantly lower. However, based on national averages and other consistencies, it is possible to make generalized assumptions in terms of the tax accounting salary new professionals can expect. Projected growth rates in this sector of accounting professionals may have a significant impact on future salaries as demand increases and older tax professionals retire.
In short, a newly graduated tax accounting professional can expect a starting salary of over $35,000 provided they have at least an associate degree. While this may seem a low tax accounting salary to some, others may view it as close to a windfall, depending on their geographic location and local economy. With a more advanced degree, students can expect starting salaries closer to $45,000 and up. Accepting a position with a larger company or with a government agency will result in a higher starting salary. Unfortunately, these positions are highly competitive, much like similar high-paying tax accounting jobs with prestigious corporations, federal agencies, and accounting firms.