April 15, 2011
Average annual employment in tax preparation services increased from about 75,000 in 2001 to 113,000 in 2009. On a month-to-month basis, this industry exhibits considerable seasonal variation, following a regular pattern each year such that employment in most months is significantly different from the average for the year.
In 2009, for example, tax preparation services employment peaked at over 237,000 in February, declined to 193,000 in April, and dropped to less than 44,000 in July. This same annual pattern—maximum in February, minimum in July—is evident throughout the most recent decade.
These data are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program. Data for 2010 are preliminary. QCEW data are based on quarterly reports from the 9 million establishments covered by the unemployment insurance program. Employment that is not covered by unemployment insurance (for example, the self-employed) is not included in QCEW data. The tax preparation services industry (NAICS 541213) comprises establishments engaged in providing tax return preparation services without also providing accounting, bookkeeping, billing, or payroll processing services. Offices of CPAs are not included.