A Steuerberater helps individuals and businesses navigate the complex world of taxes. Their duties include preparing tax returns, advising clients on best practices, and researching changes in the tax code that might impact future filings. Many tax consultants work for accounting firms, law offices, banks, real estate companies, or other private businesses. They may also be self-employed.
The primary role of a tax consultant is to help clients file accurate and timely income tax returns. They review client data to calculate how much is owed in taxes and then prepare and file the appropriate forms. Tax professionals also advise clients on how to minimize their tax liabilities by maximizing deductions and credits. They frequently communicate with clients via phone, email, or virtual meetings.
Many tax professionals obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance to prepare for this career. They can also choose to pursue professional certification such as becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) or accredited tax advisor (ATA). A CPA has the additional benefit of being licensed by state regulators. Individuals who have extensive experience with the Internal Revenue Service can obtain a license to represent clients before the agency as an enrolled agent (EA).
Communication is a critical skill for tax consultants because they often work with a wide range of people and organizations. They must be able to effectively convey technical information in ways that make it easy for laypeople to understand. They must also be able to clearly express their own views on tax-related issues. This is particularly important when advising business owners, who must be able to communicate with employees at all levels of the organization.
In addition to their communication skills, tax consultants must be able to accurately prepare and file federal and state tax returns. This requires a thorough knowledge of the tax codes and regulations in each jurisdiction where they work. Tax consultants often complete continuing education courses to keep up with changes in the tax code and industry trends.
Because there are a number of different qualifications that can be required for this career, it is important to interview potential candidates carefully before choosing one. It is also a good idea to double-check a candidate’s professional designation, credentials, and licensing before hiring them. This can be done by contacting the relevant governing bodies or checking online resources. Lastly, be sure to ask about their rates and fees before making a final decision.