Often seen as a specialization, the motivation to pursue a career in tax is not well understood, compared to the broader disciplines of law and accounting. Relying on an initial set of exploratory interviews with 38 professionals, this study examines why individuals have decided to pursue careers as tax practitioners. A survey more systematically investigated the motivations, revealing that the qualitative nature of tax work, including the intellectual challenge, is the strongest motivator, regardless of professional background. Overall, intrinsic reasons dominate over more external motivations, and the survey results are largely consistent and convergent with the interview findings. The study contributes to the understanding of the factors that influence individuals to both enter and remain in a very specialized field, which has hereto received limited direct attention. The results should be of interest to students considering a career in tax, as well as those in charge of educating and recruiting future tax practitioners.

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