If death and taxes are the only certainties in life, then a career in tax is at least one you can be secure in! Tax professionals help commercial and private clients in tax planning and compliance according to statutory and regulatory rules, maintaining proper records, and ensuring exact tax rates are applied and correct amounts are deposited with the prescribed authorities.
A tax trainee works alongside experienced tax professionals to learn the required procedures needed for a tax career. Some trainee positions are offered as apprenticeships. A tax trainee typically starts out with basic duties such as entering client information into a tax preparation software program.
As a graduate tax trainee you’re more likely to take up a role in an accountancy practice, where you might deal with businesses so companies, partnerships or sole traders. This could be a role in the corporate tax team of a Big 4 or Top 20 accountancy practice or a large independent accountancy firm.
As a graduate you'll gain a comprehensive understanding of business and the skills to really make a difference. You'll work with clients across the whole business cycle and at different stages of their development to unlock their potential for growth.
Salary & benefits
Starting salaries range from £20,000 to £35,000, but progression in this industry is one of its main selling points and qualifications will drive this sum up quickly!
Benefits and incentives for the tax industry are similar to those provided across other professional practices: pensions, life assurance, healthcare and lifestyle benefits and financial sponsorship for completing relevant professional qualifications.
Tax trainees work a standard five-day week, except during the peak tax returns season, when meeting filing deadlines are critical. Trainees are usually assigned to work in teams during the initial period of employment, under the supervision of experienced colleagues.
Graduate trainees are usually hired by accountancy or law firms to train as chartered accountants, chartered certified accountants or solicitors, handling regular placements across multiple areas of business before choosing an area to specialise in.
Those interested in building a tax practice undertake studies to become Chartered Tax Advisers (CTA), accredited by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). The direct route involves completing study with the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT), followed by completing the CTA qualifications.
The standard requirements for joining accounting or legal firms is a 2:1 or better degree in any discipline. For candidates applying for trainee solicitor roles, additional conversion courses need to be completed before training contracts can be commenced.
Training & progression
Initial graduate training takes place over a period of two years for trainee solicitors and three years for chartered accountant trainees. This covers ‘on-the-job’ training with structured placements of three to six months across different areas of practice, including taxation, formal training programmes, and study for relevant professional accreditation.
For the career path options that can follow this stage, why not have a look at the Tax Accountant or Chartered Tax Adviser roles?