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Is Big 4 Tax a Dead End Job?

Everybody and their mother knows that pubic accounting has awesome exit opportunities on the audit side. Ticking and tying random bullshit apparently gives you a really good idea of how businesses are run. People exit Big 4 audit after 4-5 years making 6 figures with much better work life balance and decent career progression.

What I have yet to see is something similar on the tax side. From what I have seen my options are:

1. Go into industry after 5-7 years with similarly shitty hours around filing deadlines. Get pidgeonholed as a tax person in your organization and basically stagnate because there aren't many high level tax positions.

2. Go to a smaller firm where you will make slightly more money with similarly shitty hours around filing deadlines and fewer resources to get the job done.

3. Stay at Big 4 and hope that one of the old partners dies so you can make partner. On this front it seems tax has it worse than audit too. Every year in my large office they make 3-5 new audit partners. It has been about 2 years since they made a new Tax equity partner.

Basically the only pro I can see is I get my own desk (not even cube anymore because of budget cuts) and I don't have to travel as much. Any of you more senior tax people want to weigh in? At this point I'm seriously considering leaving the industry altogether and going to law school (that's how pessistic I am about tax).

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