A tax collector is simply a person who collects unpaid taxes from other people or corporations. For some reason, people tend to hate them and view them negatively. The reason is quite obvious, tax collectors basically chase defaulters in tax payments. As such, they are usually hated. The irony is that tax collectors simply collect funds for government from unpaying citizens and remit the funds back to the government.
Regardless of how they are viewed, tax collectors are still professionals and still have good careers – very lucrative ones as well. Sure they have to grow thick skins to handle all the hate they take in, but it is a tax related job that pays. Being a tax collector is a job that a good number people still desire to have. No matter the perception of people about lawyers and auditors, they still do their jobs and rake in good money. As a tax collector you will be required to represent government agencies and coordinate the requisition of funds. So if you are one of those who also wants to be a tax collector, here are a few guidelines to follow and things to note.
Get a degree
Like every other career path, getting a degree is the first step. Becoming a tax collector entails going through high school and to a large extent, college. Basically, a tax collector is responsible for conducting field audits, evaluating financial information and keeping records on various cases. Tax is a compulsory levy imposed by the government to the citizens. Hence, tax collectors work for the government at federal, state or local levels.
There is no direct course on tax collection, however, the degrees required are in courses related to business, accounting, or finance. Depending on the level at which you intend to work, you may need to go beyond getting a bachelor’s degree but also obtain a master’s degree. For example, if you want to work for the government at the federal level, you need as many qualifications as possible. This is the first step if you truly want to excel as a tax collector.
Get the right skills
Beyond getting the right degree(s), you will need to obtain the right skills as required. A tax collector is also referred to as a revenue officers. Typically, the job of a tax collector revolves around gathering money owed to the government by individuals or businesses that are late in filing their tax returns. They need to do proper background check of those who have not been paying and find out the reasons why.
Sometimes, they may be responsible for conducting field audits, evaluating financial information, and keeping records on each case. Being that you have studied a business related course, none of these things would be hard, however, you may need to develop the necessary skills to excel at them. There are some other specific skills that would be required of you to be an excellent tax collector. They include:
- Computer skills: So you would be able to access and research taxpayer accounts
- Excellent communication skills: You would need to liaise with a good number individuals and business owners
- Quantitative skills: You may need to research a person’s financial status and carry out necessary computations from time to time
- Decision making skills: You would also be required to make various decisions on the go as you carry out your tax collecting assignment. You must be able to use your discretion as much as possible
- Negotiating skills: Your negotiating skills would need to be top-notch to be a tax collector for apparent reasons
- Confidentiality: You would be trusted with confidential information and as such, have to be very discrete
- Professionalism and due care
These skills would aid your job as a tax collector.
Get a Job
You need to actually have a job before you can become a tax collector. With the right skills and the right educational backing, a job should not be so hard to find. Tax collectors generally work for the government, hence, you need to direct your applications and resumes to governmental bodies and public institutions. The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) reported that 67,900 jobs existed for tax examiners and tax collectors in 2014. Typically, you need to be applying to companies involved in public finance, tax services, governmental ministries, departments and agencies and so on.
Get the relevant experience
With the right job, you would need to build your skills even more and get yourself ample years of experience. Good organizations usually provide on the job trainings and you would generally learn on the job. The more years of experience you have, the easier it is to secure even better jobs. So even while you are on the job, do not place money over getting good job experience and do not avoid work unnecessarily. It would all work out in time when you become a fulltime tax collector.
Have the right attitude
Above all, you need to have to right attitude and the right work ethic. You may be faced with certain difficult people and be seen as ‘wicked’ while carrying out your duties. You should also learn how to do your job with the right level of patience and mercy. Not everybody would like you, but that should not hinder you from carrying out your job description. With the right attitude, you would not be weighed down with the challenges that come with being a tax collector.
With the above things in check, being a successful tax collector would come easy. In any case, if you go through this process and realise that being a tax collector does not work for you, there are many career options that you could move into. You can work as an accountant, an auditor, a cost estimator, a financial or data analyst, and so on. At the end of the day, what matters is building a stable career in the field of your choice.