Each year, as big-name retailers fill thousands of seasonal jobs in preparation for holiday shoppers, another sector quietly prepares for its own hiring spree: the tax preparation industry.
The tax hiring season typically starts in January and runs until mid April. This year, government agencies, tax-preparation franchises, tax software companies and customer-service firms plan to hire tens of thousands of seasonal workers to help tax filers ahead of the big day, April 15.
Codetic has identified six employers offering more than 45,000 seasonal tax jobs — some remote, some on-site.
H&R Block has grown to include more than 10,000 franchise locations in the U.S. During tax season, those franchise offices fill the bulk of the company’s seasonal tax jobs.
H&R Block splits its seasonal positions into three categories:
- Tax professionals: Trained tax consultants who meet with customers and file their returns for them.
- Team leaders: Managers who run the day-to-day staffing and business operations of a franchise tax office.
- Tax office support: Sales, customer-service or administrative representatives who assist customers and office staff.
To qualify for any of those positions, you must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Relevant experience is preferred but not required. Team leaders and tax professionals will need to complete H&R Block’s tax preparation course and meet the 18-hour IRS education minimum – plus any relevant state requirements.
Seasonal employees are eligible for medical insurance, retirement plans and employee-discount programs. Apply online through the company’s career portal, which includes more than 21,000 seasonal positions nationwide.
The California-based financial software company is best known for TurboTax, its crown jewel tax-preparation software. To fill its seasonal tax jobs, Intuit is recruiting remote workers from anywhere in the U.S.
The remote openings are predominantly for tax support associates and tax experts.
Base requirements for the tax support associate position include some experience in filing personal federal and state tax returns and basic understanding of tax laws and concepts – with preference to candidates with a college degree and experience in business, finance, customer service and/or tax-preparation services.
Requirements for tax expert positions are more stringent. Tax experts should have in-depth knowledge of tax laws and the the appropriate credentials to back it up – either an IRS Enrolled Agent (EA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation or both – plus two years of management experience.
The company expressed a need for English-Spanish bilingual workers, in both the expert and associate job listings as well as in a separate listing specifically for bilingual CPAs.
An Intuit spokesperson did not confirm a specific number of workers that the company plans to hire for tax season.
The federal government is in the midst of its own mass hiring initiative.
According to the Internal Revenue Service’s website, these nine positions are in high demand during tax season:
To find openings for these individual roles, search the IRS’s career portal, and select the “seasonal” filter at the top of the page. Wages for seasonal positions start at $11.97 and range up to $29.05. Pay is determined by a complex weighting system that considers all relevant education and experience.
Current openings suggest a particular need for seasonal workers in Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Ogden, Utah. Positions are available in at least 10 states, and the IRS is open to hiring remotely, depending on the position.
All federal workers, including seasonal workers, receive an excellent benefits package with:
- 10 paid holidays, 13 days of sick leave and 13 to 26 days of vacation time each year.
- Health insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions. Employer pays up to 75% of premiums.
- A retirement program with employer-matching contributions.
It’s not clear how long the IRS keeps seasonal workers on staff and how that affects benefits. The agency did not respond to Codetic’s request for comment.
Jackson Hewitt, the nation’s second-largest tax preparation services company, is filling 25,000 seasonal tax job openings ahead of the 2020 tax season.
The company jump-started its recruitment process in November by hosting a weeklong hiring event at all of its 6,000 franchise branches.
“We are looking for qualified candidates who are focused on delivering the best customer experience to join our team, regardless of their experience,” CEO Alan D. Ferber said in a statement announcing the hiring initiative.
The bulk of Jackson Hewitt’s seasonal openings are comprised of two in-office positions: client support associate and tax preparer.
As a client support worker, you will greet customers, verify and enter W-2 information into a database and field calls regarding basic tax and appointment information. A high school diploma or GED and the ability to carry up to 55 pounds are required. Bonus points if you have previous customer service or sales experience.
Tax preparer positions are more selective. To qualify, you will need a high school diploma, some related experience in retail, sales or customer support, and a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) issued by the IRS. Tax preparers conduct in-person interviews with customers to help them fill out and file tax forms correctly. They consult company materials and government regulations to answer nuanced tax questions.
Seasonal workers aren’t eligible for typical benefits packages, but all Jackson Hewitt employees can receive free continuing education courses in tax preparation.
Apply for seasonal positions at your nearest Jackson Hewitt office through the company’s jobs portal.
Sykes is an international business process outsourcing (BPO) firm. In other words, large companies hire Sykes to handle their customer service work for them. Sykes distributes that work to a slew of its own customer service representatives across the nation.
So what does that have to do with taxes? Sykes partners with tax-software companies.
“We are actively looking to fill more than 1,500 positions for tax-related customer service around the country through our work-at-home program, and in our Morristown, Tennessee location,” a Sykes spokesperson told Codetic. “Candidates simply need to have a desire to help others, along with a high-speed internet connection and a computer, and we provide the software, other equipment and training needed.”
According to seasonal tax job listings, some “nice to haves” include a background in customer service, financial services, health care or technology.
Apply to Sykes’s remote customer service openings online. Immediate interviews are available if you qualify.
Similar to Sykes, Working Solutions is a BPO firm that works with tax-software providers. The company confirmed to Codetic that it plans to hire 2,000 remote tax software customer support representatives from 46 states. (Sorry, residents of California, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. Working Solutions doesn’t hire in those states.)
The contractual positions require a minimum commitment of 20 hours per week. And as an independent contractor, you won’t qualify for benefits through the company.
Seasonal tax representative listings in Working Solutions’s career page outline the basic qualifications:
- At least one year of customer service experience in a “high-volume” role.
- Computer skills and knowledge of Mac and Windows operating systems.
- Some experience using tax software.
Even if you don’t have a year of previous experience, there’s no harm in applying. The requirements may be lenient.
“Customer-service experience is definitely a plus,” a spokesperson told Codetic. “Previous tax-preparation work is good but not a requirement for the job. Agents hired for the client program are educated in tax-preparation software to serve customers.”
You can apply to any seasonal listing, regardless of location, though it may be wise to choose one in your same time zone.
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at Codetic. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.