People who enjoy working with taxes often set their sights on working for the Internal Revenue Service, or the IRS. Since the primary business of the IRS is the collection of income taxes, a background in accounting and taxation increases your marketability with the IRS. Positions at the IRS exist in a variety of departments, including information technology, tax law, law enforcement or taxpayer advocacy. It helps to understand the interview process with the IRS if you intend to seek one of these positions.
File Your Own Taxes
The IRS maintains records on every taxpayer in the United States. This makes it easy for the IRS to conduct background checks regarding applicant tax accounts. If your personal taxes are filed late or if you owe taxes, you must deal with your own taxes before applying to the IRS. This means filing any outstanding returns and paying any taxes owed. If you owe taxes and are not able to pay them in full, set up a payment arrangement so that your account demonstrates your desire to be responsible for your own tax liability.
Prepare for TAP Test
Depending on the position you apply for, you may need to take the Telephone Assessment Program test, or TAP test. The TAP test evaluates your understanding of what appears on various tax forms and your ability to answer questions based on those tax forms. During the test, you receive a set of completed tax forms that you use to respond to questions. It will help to review various tax forms published by the IRS before taking this test.
Brush Up Your Accounting Skills
Most of the jobs available with the IRS require the applicant to have experience or education in accounting. Accounting skills, specifically tax accounting skills, form the foundation for completing tax forms. As a potential employee with the IRS, these skills allow you to understand the information contained on the tax forms and assist taxpayers. If you haven’t worked with taxes or accounting recently, take an accounting or income tax course to improve your skills.
Practice Behavioral Questions
The IRS incorporates behavioral questions into the interview process. These questions ask the candidate to discuss a specific challenging event and to describe how he handled the situation. These types of questions require a deeper answer from the candidate. As you prepare for the interview, list a few events that demonstrate several of your better qualities related to the position. These might include a time you volunteered to prepare taxes and served a difficult client, or you may have an experience in which you reviewed the work of another person and discovered a mistake. Ask a friend to interview you to give you practice responding to this type of question.
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