The yearly ritual of preparing tax returns is a boon for seasonal tax preparers, workers who specialize in helping individuals and small businesses with their tax filing responsibilities. Seasonal tax workers use their knowledge of basic tax rules and income-reporting practices to help people prepare tax returns. Salaries for these workers vary widely depending on different factors.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were about 61,130 tax preparers employed in 2009. These workers earned an average of about $17.34 an hour or about $36,060 per year. The top 10th percentile of workers made about $30.90 per hour or about $64,270 per year, while those in the lowest 10th percentile made an average of about $8.50 per hour or about $17,680 per year.
Most Common Industries
The "accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services" sector of the economy employed the vast majority of tax preparers in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The estimated 59,660 tax preparers in this sector earned an average of about $17.18 per hour or about $35,740 per year. The estimated 330 tax preparers in the "management, scientific and technical consulting services" area, the second-most common sector, earned an average of about $18.63 an hour or about $38,750 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the estimated 140 tax preparers in the "insurance carriers" sector of the industry had the highest average salaries out of all sectors in 2009. These preparers made about $29.85 per hour or about $62,090 per year. Those in the second-highest paying sector, "legal services," earned an average salary of about $27.88 an hour or about $58,000 per year.
The five states in which tax preparers earned the highest average salaries in 2009 were, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Massachusetts, Alaska, California, Hawaii and New Jersey. Preparers in Massachusetts had the highest average wages out of all states, earning about $29.06 an hour or about $60,440 per year, while those in New Jersey, the fifth-highest paying state, earned a significantly lower average of about $23.29 an hour or about $48,450 per ear.