Top 20 Tax Associate Interview Questions & Answers 2024

Editorial Team

Tax Associate Interview Questions & Answers

Who are the tax associates? A tax associate is an individual who assists individuals and businesses with federal and state income tax compliance and preparations.

Below are the top 20 tax associate interview questions and answers.

1.   Why Are You Interested In This Role?

When the interviewer asks you this question, they expect you to tell them why you are interested in working for them. Talk about why you need the job.

Sample Answer

“After I saw your advertisement for this role, I got interested in applying because I want to use the knowledge and skills that I have learned from my university studies and from my experience. I would not say that I need to improve my skills by working for a big institution like this one. It is with no doubt that there are a lot of activities that take place in this institution and I would like to learn them too. Lastly, I need this job because I want to support my family financially by earning through working from the knowledge I have gained while they educated me.”

2.   What Are The Roles Of a Tax Associate?

Your interviewer wants to learn whether you know the duties that you are supposed to perform as a tax associate. Talk about the essential duties and responsibilities performed by tax associates.

Sample Answer

“There are several duties I am expected to perform as a tax associate. Among the prominent roles are;

i)             Ensuring that clients comply with IRS regulations and meet their state and federal tax obligations

ii)           Analyze and minimize tax liabilities by implementing tax reduction strategies.

iii)          Reviewing financial records, income statements, and expenditures.

iv)          Preparing and filing tax returns and work papers for companies, partnerships, and individuals.

v)            Researching tax issues and assisting with tax audits

Those are the top five duties and responsibilities that I am entitled to as a tax associate. I would be delighted to perform them in your institution.”

3.   What Are The Qualities That A Tax Associate Need To Be Successful

Here, the interviewer wants to know the qualities you have that can make you successful in this role. Tell them the qualities that you think might help you be successful in this role.

Sample Answer

“As a competent tax associate, I should possess certain qualities that will make me successful in this role. The qualities of a good tax associate are;

i)             Should be able to solve problems

ii)           Should be personable

iii)          Should pay attention to detail

iv)          Should maintain confidence

v)            Should have cultivated communication skills

Those are qualities that I believe that I have and can help me become successful in this role.”

4.   What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage?

Here, the interviewer wants to know the challenges you encountered while working as a tax associate in your previous role. Talk about the main challenges you faced and how you managed them.

Sample Answer

“Especially during the Pandemic that struck the world, the tax industry and economy have not been the same. Most of the governments had rapid responses to support business. However, they complicated the tax. Initiatives from tax authorities have been broad-ranging and included revised requirements for tax notices, filings, and collections. There has been a suspension of tax audits and leniency on tax litigation. Actually, more than 130 jurisdictions have made significant changes to their tax code, mitigating economic consequences. It will take a lot of time for the world to return tax policy to normal. I believe this time of Pandemic has been one of the worst experiences for tax associates.”

5.   Describe Your Daily Routine As A Tax Associate?

The interviewer wants to know what schedule you will be using to perform different tasks. Give them an organized program from the first activity till the last one daily.

Sample Answer

“On a usual workday, I would start checking and responding to my emails after I arrive at the office. Secondly, I will be receiving and making calls to clients and track down their information regarding tax. I would then start researching any technical issues regarding tax that might need to be addressed. This would mostly involve preparing a corporate tax return. After that, I would also recheck my emails after having lunch. I will also engage with clients and get all the required information as far as tax is concerned. Having had such a busy day, I would meet with the top management for a briefing on the results of my research regarding client tax issues and call it a day.”

6.   Describe Briefly About Your Experience

The interviewer wants to know where you have worked before, how long you have worked, and the experience you got. Talk about all the relevant experience gained in the past.

Sample Answer

“After completing my Bachelor’s degree in accounting, I was employed as an intern in a private company. I was able to learn a lot of activities that are involved in the tax cycle. I worked there as an intern for one year. After finishing my internship, I was also employed by the same company as a tax associate for a contract of three years which was not renewable. Having worked in this field for four years, I believe I have all it takes to work as a tax associate in your institution. I would be delighted to use this experience to work for you.”

7.   What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?

The interviewer wants to know what it is that should drive you to work efficiently in this role. Talk about your attitude towards this role.

Sample Answer

“As a tax associate, I should always be driven to get the updated and new information about tax to my organization. There should always be research done on the fundamentals of tax law and tax practice. In addition, as a tax associate, it’s good to make sure that you are giving your company the best work since matters concerning tax are very crucial.”

8.   What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?

The interviewer wants to know what is the biggest challenge that you think might affect this role in the future. Talk about a difficulty that is likely to face the tax industry in the future and how you can manage it.

Sample Answer

“The key challenge that I foresee in this country is the struggle of trying to catch up with the digital wave in businesses. Since businesses are transforming digitally, most tax departments are left behind. The future of technology is digital, real-time, and all businesses need to move expeditiously. Otherwise, there will be a massive exposure to higher risks and costs relative to their peers. If the tax department does not catch up with the fast-growing digital economy, there will be an enormous challenge in the coming future. ”

9.   How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?

Your interviewer wants to know how you keep up with the daily morale and the psych. Talk about what motivates you while you are working. Consider talking about achievements in your career as your big motivators.

Sample Answer

“As far as my career is concerned, nothing motivates me more than seeing success in my area of work. In my previous role, we would solve issues concerning tax, and once we get solutions, we would consider that as a motivation to continue doing the same work. Of course, that’s an achievement worth celebrating. That’s always my motivation.”

10.   Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lessons You Learned

Your interviewer knows very well that you are prone to many mistakes in this industry, so there must be a time when you failed. Talk about any errors that made you fail in your role and the lesson you learned.

Sample Answer

“Since there is a lot of research done on this field, your brain may be tired, and as a result, you find yourself making mistakes that might even be considered as malpractice. At one time, I omitted some information when preparing tax returns. Later before the IRS, I noticed that I had made a mistake. This was so difficult to deal with. We had to involve our lawyer to write an affidavit that it was a mistake. I learned that when doing this kind of task, you need to do them when the brain is fresh and do a cross-check to make sure that there are no errors.”

11.   Why Do You Feel You Are Most Suited For This Role?

The interviewer wants to know why you feel that you suit this job more than any other candidate. It would be best if you talked about your unique qualities, skills, and experience.

Sample Answer

“Since this is a very crucial role, it needs someone who has worked for this before. I have all it takes, and I know what I am expected to do regarding tax issues. The strategies that I had been using in my previous role are wonderful and effective. I need to implement them in your organization for good performance. Having a four-year experience is all it takes to get this job.”

12.   Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement

The interviewer wants to know the biggest aim that you were able to achieve. Talk about your greatest achieved goal in your career. This can be a promotion, award, or recognition due to your work.

Sample Answer

“Since I have worked in this field for several years, all you expect is success. Right? My greatest achievement was when my previous company was awarded as the most tax-paying company in the county. This was a big achievement done by my team and I. Since I was the head, I was awarded as the best tax associate of the company. That sounds cool. Right? I must say that this was my greatest achievement in my career.”

13.   Mention To Us Tax Reduction Strategies That You Would Use For High-Income Earning Companies.

The interviewer wants to test your knowledge on the strategies that you should use for tax reduction. Mention the five main strategies you would use.

Sample Answer

“There are several strategies that I would use to reduce tax. Among the main five are;

a)    Above the line deductions

b)    Health saving account contributions

c)    Deductible traditional IRA contributions

d)    Qualified retirement plan contributions

e)    Qualified charitable distributions

These would be my best five strategies for tax reduction.”

14.   How Will You Ensure Zero Mistakes Are Made When Dealing With Tax Matters?

The interviewer expects you to tell them what strategies you would put in place to ensure that there are no mistakes made when doing your work. Consider talking about the use of technology.

Sample Answer

“First of all, I would ensure maximum concentration and fresh brains when performing these tasks. As we all know, technology improves the way we work. One of the ways that it makes sure that we are doing well in our work is by eliminating mistakes. There are software that can be used to eliminate these errors. They will not let you proceed or save your work without correcting the error. Use of technology would be the best way to deal with the errors.”

15.  Talk To Us About Different Types Of Taxes You Know Of

Here, the interviewer wants to know your basic tax knowledge. Mention and briefly explain the key types of taxes.

Sample Answer

“The five among the various types of taxes are;

a)    Income taxes-these are taxes imposed by the government on income generated by businesses and individuals within a jurisdiction.

b)    Excise taxes-these are taxes imposed on various goods, services, and activities.

c)    Sales taxes-these are taxes that are added to the cost of a product or service.

d)    Property taxes-these are taxes that are imposed on property owned by individuals or other legal entities.

e)    Estate taxes-these are financial levies on estates based on the current value of their assets.

To the best of my knowledge, those are five among the several types of taxes.”

16.   What Are The Top Five Software That You Would Use In This Field?

The interviewer wants to know the type of software you can use to make your work efficient. Talk about the top five as told and briefly say something about them

Sample Answer

“There are different types of software that can be used in the tax field. The top five among many are;

a)    ProSeries Professional- This is the best overall professional tax preparation software.

b)    ProConnect Tax Online-This is the best for Quickbooks Online Advisor

c)    Drake tax- This is the best value in professional tax software

d)    Lacerte-This is the best software for complex returns such as consolidations

e)    UltraTax CS- This is best in utilizing CS professional Suite for their tax and audit practice.

Those are the top five software that I will use as a tax associate. ”

17.   Why Is It Necessary To Pay Taxes?

The interviewer wants to know whether you are aware of why you pay your taxes. Talk about why you need to pay tax and where it goes.

Sample Answer

“We all want government services like policing, good infrastructure, civil servant salary payments, and other services that the government provides. They get money for all these services by collecting revenues, and that is tax. Whenever we pay our taxes as we should, the government will have an easy time managing the services that it offers to the citizens. That is the main reason why we pay taxes.”

18.   How Would Your Previous Boss Describe You?

The interviewer wants to know about your relationship with your previous employer. Talk about the nice things they would professionally talk about you.

Sample Answer

“My previous boss Ms. Donaldson was one of the best I would work with. I am sure she would describe me as a go-getter, team player, detailed focussed person, and a person who loves adventure.”

19.   Why Did You Leave Your Previous Role?

The interviewer wants to know the reason why you are jobless right now. Why did you quit your previous role? Talk about the reasons why you left your previous job.

Sample Answer

“I would say that I did not quit my job, but I was employed on a three-year contract which was unrenewable. That is the reason why I don’t have a job right now. In addition, I would also prefer working in a different environment to learn new skills and advance in my career too.”

20.   Where Do You See Yourself In The Next Five Years

Your interviewer will ask you this question to know your aims in your career. Talk about where you are aiming at as far as your career is concerned.

Sample Answer

“In five years’ time, I believe I will be one of the top and the best tax associate analyst in the continent. I want to gain enough experience in this industry to solve issues concerning tax in the future. That’s my biggest goal.”


This is a very critical post, and so it requires accountability and a very focused person. Answer the questions with confidence. All the best!