How Much Do Tax Preparation Firms Pay Their Employees During the Peak Tax Season?

Written by James Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

As the economy continues to struggle along, many folks find themselves settling for menial or part-time jobs that pay relatively little and offer few benefits. If you're looking for a temporary job that doesn't require you to stand on your feet for hours on end, you've probably thought about applying for a seasonal position at a national tax-preparation service. Depending upon where you live, there are probably several competing tax-preparation franchises within commuting distance of your dwelling. The most common franchises include H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax Service. Both H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt have physical offices in most regions of the country. In addition, H&R Block offers an online tax-preparation service to all American taxpayers.

Most tax-preparation services conduct large-scale hiring operations around the start of each new year. Most of these new hires are trained and assigned by the beginning of February. Although this time frame can vary by franchise, it's unlikely that you'll be able to secure a temporary tax-preparation job after February 15. Ideally, you should start putting in applications with each service before the end of the holiday season.

Your compensation will depend upon the policies of the company at which you're ultimately hired. For instance, Jackson Hewitt is known for offsetting its smaller temporary-worker salaries with ample performance bonuses. During the five years prior to 2012, Jackson Hewitt paid all of its temporary employees $10 per hour. Although their earnings may vary slightly in accordance with local living costs and inflation rates, temporary Jackson Hewitt associates are unlikely to earn more than $15 per hour in any capacity. This wage is based on the number of hours worked by each employee and typically isn't negotiable.

On average, H&R Block pays its temporary employees about $12 per hour. Like Jackson Hewitt, it pays an end-of-season bonus and may also pay commissions on sales of certain non-essential products. These commissions and bonuses can range from $200 to well over $5,000. However, most temporary workers earn relatively small performance packages.

Both of these tax services conduct large-scale layoffs during the second quarter of the year. By July, only a skeleton crew remains at each branch office. If you're interested in pursuing a career as a tax-preparation specialist, you may wish to obtain a financial-services degree before putting in your application. Alternatively, you'll need to perform at a very high level in order to remain employed in the aftermath of these annual layoffs.

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