tax adviser

How to become tax adviser

What does a tax adviser do?

Tax advisers work to ensure that their clients' tax payments and records are complete, up to date and legitimate. This can mean conducting audits to make sure records are complete, checking tax returns are correct or advising clients on ways to reduce the amounts paid in taxes.

They often collect and interpret data to produce reports or presentations for clients. They are usually employed by accountants or solicitors to work as consultants for a wide range of clients such as private companies or individuals.

There are two main areas of work:

  • tax consultancy – this involves structuring clients' affairs to minimise future tax liabilities
  • tax compliance – this involves calculating tax and preparing and submitting tax returns and associated documents.

They may also supervise other members of staff, allocate work, and provide training.


What's the working environment like for a tax adviser?

Tax advisers generally work standard office hours, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Additional hours may be required to meet deadlines. Many tax advisers find that their workload increases considerably towards February and March, which is the end of the tax year.

The work is office-based with visits to clients’ premises required when conducting audits.

What does it take to become a tax adviser?

To work as a tax adviser you should:

  • have strong numeracy and computer skills
  • be able to interpret complex data
  • be able to work well under pressure and keep to tight deadlines
  • possess good written and spoken communication skills
  • be able to work as part of a team and supervise others
  • have a methodical approach and a sharp eye for detail
  • have an interest in business and finance
  • be aware of how changes in law and finance could affect your clients or company.

There may be apprenticeship opportunities available for you to get into this profession. Alternatively, you could enter a company as a trainee and work your way up. In order to get started this way you'll be expected to have two or three A Levels. 

Professional tax advisers usually have a recognised qualification from the ATT or the CIOT, so it may be worth investing some time in getting qualified with either professional body. 

Tax adviser career opportunities

The majority of CTAs begin working for professional accountancy firms and in-house tax departments. However, there are increasing opportunities with banks, legal firms and in the finance departments of large companies in commerce and industry. Tax advisers can also work for HM Revenue and Customs.

It is possible to for tax advisers to move between these sectors during their career. With experience, many tax advisers become self-employed and open their own consultancies.

Further information

If you would like to learn more about becoming a tax adviser that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Chartered Institute of Taxation
12 Upper Belgrave Street
Tel: 020 7235 9381

Association of Taxation Technicians
12 Upper Belgrave Street
Tel: 020 7235 2544

Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC)
51 Gresham Street
Tel: 020 7216 7366