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  • A woman is sitting behind a desk, in a small office.  She is talking to a man who is sitting in front of the desk.  They are both looking at a sheet of paper and the woman is pointing to something on it.

    Discussing a tax matter with a client.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, speaking on a telephone and writing on a paper document.

    Discussing a client's financial return on the phone.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, using a computer.

    Using the HM Revenue and Customs website to file a tax return.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, using a computer.

    Using a computer to calculate tax liability.

  • A woman is standing in an office, next to an open filing cabinet.  She is putting some paper documents into a blue folder.

    Keeping clear and organised records.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, reading something in a ring-bound folder.

    Keeping up to date with the latest tax regulations.

  • Tax Adviser

Tax Adviser

Introduction

Tax advisers provide advice on taxation issues to companies and individuals. They look at a client's financial circumstances, work out the correct level of tax and look for legal ways to reduce their tax bill. They prepare tax returns and liaise with HM Revenue & Customs on behalf of their client.

Also known as

  • Financial Consultant - Tax

Work Activities

As a Tax Adviser, you will provide advice to individuals and companies on tax-related issues. You keep up to date with changes in tax legislation and explain these laws and complicated tax systems to clients.

You also prepare tax returns and calculate correct levels to pay to HM Revenue & Customs after looking at a client's financial circumstances. You advise on legal ways of reducing tax bills and liaise and negotiate with the tax authorities on a client's behalf.

Tax Advisers also analyse detailed financial accounts and examine the general financial dealings of clients. You offer advice on the tax implications of financial planning, strategy or business transactions such as company reorganisations and mergers.

You might assess international tax for companies that trade with organisations in other countries.

Some Tax Advisers specialise in areas such as inheritance tax or employment tax, or in advising clients on how to plan for and manage their VAT or Customs duties.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Tax Adviser, you'll need to:

  • be able to explain complicated issues (such as tax law) in simple terms
  • understand and analyse large amounts of information
  • be organised and logical
  • enjoy solving problems
  • have a high level of numeracy
  • have IT skills
  • be tactful and diplomatic
  • have a broad understanding of the business world
  • work well in a team

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £34,500 - £39,000
  • With experience: £41,000 - £47,500
  • Senior Tax Advisers earn £53,000

Hours of work

Tax Advisers usually work 35-40 hours, Monday to Friday. However, you might need to work late/weekends at peak times, for example, at year-end.

Where could I work?

Employers include firms of Accountants or Solicitors, or specialist tax consultancies. Clearing banks and in-house taxation departments of large multinational companies also employ Tax Advisers.

Opportunities for Tax Advisers occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for Tax Advisers to become self-employed.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in the following places:

  • local/national newspapers
  • employers' websites
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • the Find a Job website
  • Job boards, such as taxation-jobs.co.uk

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Entry is possible by obtaining a trainee position in a tax firm. Some people enter with A levels, but most trainees have a degree or HND, often in a subject such as business, finance, accountancy or economics. Foundation degrees are available in business and finance subjects.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

It is also possible to enter the profession as a qualified Accountant or Solicitor.

A good place to start is studying for a London Institute of Banking & Finance course. See their website for more details.

A Higher Level Apprenticeship is also a great place to start. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Training

Trainees with GCSEs, A levels, a HND or degree normally first study for the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) exams.

You will need to pass exams in personal taxation, business taxation and accounting principles, and one other. Options include business compliance, corporate taxation and VAT. You will also need to pass two e-assessments - in professional responsibilities and ethics, and in law.

You will also need at least two years' practical experience in UK taxation to be granted membership of the ATT.

Further study for the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) professional examination leads to qualification as a Chartered Tax Adviser. You will need to pass four CIOT exams: two advisory papers, one awareness paper and one application paper. You also have to pass online assessments in professional responsibilities and ethics, and law. You must have three years' relevant recent professional experience.

People who enter the profession as a qualified Accountant or Solicitor can register directly for the CIOT professional exams, and might be granted exemption from one or more exam papers.

Work Experience

Previous experience of tax relief and tax advice would be really helpful. Qualifications in ACA or ACCA from the Chartered Institute of Taxation would also be really useful.

Progression

Tax Advisers can progress to Senior, Manager, Director or Partner positions. Some Tax Advisers become self-employed or start their own consultancy business.

Qualifications

To register as a student with the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT), the minimum requirement is a reasonable standard of English and maths.

It's common to enter as a trainee with A levels or higher education (HE) qualifications such as a degree.

For entry to a degree course in any subject, the usual requirement is:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
  • English and maths at GCSE grade C/4 or above

Alternatives to A levels include:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully.

To get onto a Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will need at least two A Levels, or an Advanced Level Apprenticeship.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Entry

Many applicants have a professional background in accountancy, finance or law.

A Higher Apprenticeship in Professional Services (Tax) might be available in your area.

All entrants registering as students of the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) need a reasonable standard of maths and English.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (for example, Access to Business) could be the way in. No qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

Relevant degrees include accounting, economics, law and business- or finance-related subjects.

Distance learning

Courses of study for the ATT and the Chartered Institute of Taxation qualifications are available on a distance learning basis from several providers.

Statistics

  • 25% of people who work in occupations such as tax adviser are self-employed.
  • 12% work part-time.
  • 27% have flexible hours.

Further Information

Professional institutesProfessional institutes have the following roles:

  • To support their members.
  • To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation is the main professional institute for this career.

Recruit.co.uk

Publisher: Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)

Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ

Tel: 0845 2573772

Email: directions@financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Website: www.directions.org.uk/careers

Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)

Skills for the financial, finance and accountancy sectors

Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ

Tel: 0845 2573772

Email: info@financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Website: www.financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Inside Careers

Specialists in graduate careers

Address: Unit 6, The Quad, 49 Atalanta Street, Fulham, London SW6 6TU

Tel: 020 7565 7900

Website: www.insidecareers.co.uk

Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)

Address: 1st Floor, Artillery House, 11-19 Artillery Row, London SW1P 1RT

Tel: 020 7340 0550

Email: comms@tax.org.uk

Website: www.tax.org.uk

Association of Taxation Technicians

Address: 1st Floor, Artillery House, 11-19 Artillery Row, London SW1P 1RT

Tel: 0844 2510830

Email: info@att.org.uk

Website: www.att.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

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