The IRS, a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is the tax administration branch of the federal government. Each year, the IRS processes more than 200 million tax returns, equaling more than $2 trillion in tax revenue. IRS contact representatives are generally seasonal government employees hired and trained to provide service and advice to taxpayers.
An IRS contact representative works over the phone, in person and via e-mail/online chat to provide information and counsel to taxpayers. She is trained in tax law and coached to be an expert when it comes to the various forms taxpayers need to fill out and the processes they need to follow. The representative spends most of her time answering specific questions and directing citizens to the information they need to fill out their tax forms accurately and thoroughly. She answers questions about when people should expect refunds and how they should go about submitting their payments. She encourages taxpayers to file their returns electronically.
The IRS staffs regional offices throughout the United States and its territories. An IRS contact representative works in an office environment and spends a significant amount of time on the computer. He might also work lengthy hours on the telephone. The job can be stressful, and a representative might deal with complaints and difficult clients. The hours, especially as tax-payment deadlines approach, can be very long. A contact representative might be hired in a full-time or a part-time capacity, and he will probably work the job seasonally -- fewer than 12 months in a calendar year.
Considered a General Schedule (GS)-5 level position, the role of contact representative requires a bachelor’s degree or one year of specialized experience in the bookkeeping or accounting fields or a combination of both education and experience. Additional requirements for this government position include proof of U.S. citizenship; pre-employment identity verification; pre-employment background, tax and fingerprint checks; and, for males of age, selective service registration.
According to FedJobs, as of January 2014, the beginning base salary for a GS-5 position at Step 1 is $27,705. At Step 10, the highest level for a GS-5 position, the base salary is $36,021. Above the base salary, workers at different U.S. locations receive additional pay adjustments ranging from 14.16 percent to 35.15 percent.
People contemplating this work must be both fact oriented and people oriented. They should be keen problem solvers and troubleshooters who can work logically with numbers, data and information. Additionally, they should communicate in a professional manner and successfully explain complicated procedures and ideas in layman's terms. Attention to detail, compliance with protocol, organization skills and the capacity to meet deadlines are also important.