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Internal Revenue Service Worker Job Description, Career as an Internal Revenue Service Worker, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training College plus training

Salary Average—$36,963 to $81,417 per year

Employment Outlook Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) workers collect taxes for the federal government and make sure taxpayers abide by the law. They work in the national office in Washington, DC, and in regional offices throughout the country.

IRS personnel hold a number of professional positions. Tax examiners, for instance, scrutinize the tax returns and accounting records of individual taxpayers and businesses to determine how much tax money is owed. They may question individual taxpayers or survey the accounting books of large enterprises. They also advise taxpayers on accounting methods and assist government attorneys handling tax cases.

Tax auditors are experts in IRS regulations. They examine tax returns in cases where adherence to regulations is at issue. Internal auditors examine the operations of the IRS itself. Revenue officers collect delinquent, or late, taxes, while special agents investigate cases of suspected tax fraud and advise government attorneys of their findings.

Some IRS workers are lawyers. Tax law specialists—who are employed only in Washington, DC—interpret federal tax laws, preparing informational and instructional publications for taxpayers and IRS workers. Estate tax attorneys interpret laws relating to estate and gift taxes.

Education and Training Requirements

Requirements vary, although all professional IRS workers need at least bachelor's degrees. Tax examiners, internal auditors, and special agents need expertise in accounting. Business courses are useful for tax auditors. Tax law specialists and estate tax attorneys need law degrees. All IRS workers receive both formal and on-the-job training after they are hired.

Getting the Job

Job seekers can apply directly to IRS recruitment offices, which have job listings and the requirements for all positions. Applicants may need to take federal civil service examinations.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

IRS workers can advance with additional education and experience. Many go into administrative work. Tax examiners who get master's degrees in accounting earn higher salaries. Some go into private tax work.

The employment of federal tax examiners, revenue agents, and specialists is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all jobs through 2014. Stronger tax enforcement efforts are anticipated, but computerization and outsourcing to private-sector collection agencies may limit job opportunities.

Working Conditions

Most IRS personnel work in offices and handle a great deal of paperwork. Tax work demands care, attention to detail, and a responsible attitude.

Where to Go for More Information

Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20224
(202) 622-5000

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries vary widely, based on pay grade and type of job. In 2005 tax examiners earned an average salary of $36,963 per year, while revenue agents averaged $81,417 per year. Beginning workers earned between $21,000 and $27,000 per year, depending on their academic records and experience. Benefits include paid holidays and vacations, health and life insurance, and retirement plans.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service