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As many of you speed past the first big compliance deadline of the year, the IRS just announced the extension of the individual filing deadline. In some ways 2021 seems to feel a little more like normal, but in other ways it still feels like we have long way to go. It will be interesting to see how the economy and employment deal with the ongoing fallout of shutdowns, trillions of dollars of stimulus money and a cornucopia of other issues happening simultaneously.

Before I get into the specifics of where tax salaries are at, let’s talk about the employment market. Certain industries (ie oil & gas) and areas of the country are lagging; but overall, opportunities for tax accounting professionals remains strong in Colorado and most major markets. Denver has seen a handful of new tax departments spring up the past year, but has also seen some consolidations and outsourcing take place (ie Jacobs). Hiring in public accounting was strong in the 4th quarter, as is traditionally the case. I'm optimistic and will continue to monitor hiring across all sectors and industries.

Something that we see occurring and that may change the employment landscape, is the trend towards fully remote work. Although this has been going on in the tech sector for a number of years, the pandemic has significantly increased the adoption of this trend. And we see it happening in virtually (no pun intended) all industries. When a position is fully remote, supply and demand for labor is greatly impacted. In Colorado, a few companies have announced they have moved to a fully remote work environment. Others have announced they are going to a hybrid and still others will be back in person, full time. I would say, though, that the majority have yet to make any firm decisions around what the workplace will look like in the future.


Now, let's get to the numbers. If you compare this year’s salary numbers with last year, we haven’t seen a significant change. A recent survey we did showed that about 5% of the tax professionals responding saw a reduction in their salary over the past year. ** About 40% received an increase in their salary and 55% stayed the same. In comparison, almost 90% of the tax professionals we surveyed got a salary increase the prior year.

Salary Graph Adjusted

I took the liberty of removing some outliers from these numbers. They tended to skew the results too much and weren't representative of what most people are earning. These number are focused on people doing income tax work (not indirect tax), most of whom are generalists. If you want to know salary numbers for indirect tax or people that specialize (international, provision, etc.), please message or email me. Although I'm not a data analyst, there is a moderate correlation between having a CPA and a higher salary and having an advanced degree and a higher salary. Also, it's worth noting that titles and associated salaries can be a little misleading. A typical Tax Associate with 1 or 2 years of experience is not going to earn $88K. There are a lot of people that have 10+ years of experience that have a Tax Accountant or Senior title.

It's hard to just assign a salary to someone based on years of experience or title or credentials - although that's what many companies are forced to do. People skills, how quickly someone learns and confidence are all worth something. As a person progresses in their career, they tend to see more disparity in compensation and career advancement. I'm a believer in the idea that people should be rewarded for their work skills, strengths and even commitment to the job. Please see these numbers as a guide more than a guarantee or requirement.


My goal in providing this information is not to make enemies, cause disruption or win you over with extravagant promises; but simply to educate through providing data. Like any data, there is a story and some context to this information. As always, I'm glad to answer questions and give you more info or fill in the blanks.

I wish the best to those of you with your heads down for another four (strike that) eight+ weeks.

Jay 1-21 Cropped

To your continued success,


Jay McCauley
Executive Recruiter, Oxford Tax Recruiting

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