Tax lawyers are specialists in federal, state, and municipal rules and policies pertaining to tax liability and the procedure for taxation as it relates to estate transfers, material and property acquisitions, income from all sources, and business transactions of all kinds. Most tax attorneys keep to their offices although many are involved in litigation, representing clients if there arises a dispute that cannot be resolved out the courtroom. Tax lawyers work for law firms that offer tax services and are hired on a retainer basis to represent customers, which may include non-profits and corporate entities, business and other organizations, as well as individuals.
Tax attorneys are frequently called upon what’s required of them to remain in compliance and to help clients better understand the rules that regulate taxation and are highly sought after for their expert understanding of the intricacies of tax law. They are also retained to handle wealth issues with regard to the tax obligation associated with the transfer of an estate. They act as advisors for customers interested in setting up or amending trusts and wills and oversee the ultimate distribution of material and financial assets among beneficiaries. They may also look to negotiate for the nullification of lines and for the reduction or elimination of tax obligations and associated fines on behalf of the clients.
Although several entities are responsible for creating and enforcing tax law, including municipal and state governments, many tax lawyers specialize in Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-related issues. In this capacity, they work along with other tax professionals such as CPAs to organize and prepare tax documents, arrange and oversee the structuring of IRS settlements and may represent clients during an IRS audit. Tax attorneys will also represent clients in IRS hearings and administrative appeals and in U.S. Tax Courts, in addition to the Court of Appeals and even the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Duties of Tax Lawyers
Tax lawyers are responsible for several different jobs such as:
- Keeping documents and tax information for customers
- Understanding finance and accounting principles
- Communicating and negotiating with state, federal and local government
- Evaluating and assessing tax issues
- Researching and analyzing federal and state laws
How to Become a Tax Lawyer?
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
A tax attorney has a background in business or accounting. You can complete an undergraduate degree program in accounting or business to obtain this background. A bachelor’s degree is required to apply to law school.
Step 2: Apply to Law School
You need to prepare for and take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), a standardized exam that tests reading comprehension and logical and analytical reasoning, before applying to law school. You can assemble your law school applications or use the Law School Admission Council’s Credential Assembly Service to help you submit your applications once you have your LSAT scores. The overall quality of the faculty and tuition, location, student body size are factors to consider when choosing a law school, according to the Law School Admission Council. All states require lawyers to graduate from a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association.
Step 3: Obtain an Internship
By completing a semester or summer internship with a law firm that specializes in taxation, while in law school, you can acquire experience in tax law. Department bulletin boards and the American Bar Association may offer assistance with locating an internship at a law firm. Student activities, such as the law review and the political science club, also provide opportunities to gain experience and network.
Step 4: Graduate and Pass the Bar Examination
Once you have completed law school and earned a Juris Doctor (JD), you can sit for the state bar examination in your state. All attorneys must pass a state bar examination to practice law, although State Bar requirements vary.
Step 5: Total Education and Seek Employment
Some may prefer to complete a Master of Laws in Taxation to ensure mastery of the subject, while some lawyers may jump right into practicing tax law. Additionally, all attorneys must complete continuing education to maintain their licensure. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for attorneys, including tax lawyers, will grow by 6% from 2014 to 2024.
Tax Lawyer Salary
Tax Attorney I salary is $94,918 as of May 30, 2017, with a range usually between $75,628 to $102,654 however, this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors. Our team of Certified Compensation Professionals has analyzed survey data collected from thousands of HR departments at companies of all sizes and industries to present this range of annual salaries in America for people with the job name Tax Attorney I.
Tax Attorney II salary is $128,580 as of May 30, 2017, with a range generally between $102,404 to $139,101 but this can vary based on many factors. Our team of Certified Compensation Professionals has examined survey data collected from thousands of HR departments to present this assortment of salaries in the United States for individuals with the project title Tax Attorney II.
Tax Attorney III salary in Los Angeles is $195,635, as of May 30, 2017, with a range between $156,635-$207,791 not including bonus and benefit information and other factors that impact base pay. However, the salary for someone with the title Tax Attorney III may change depending on a number of factors including industry, company size, location, years of experience and level of education. Survey data collected from thousands of HR departments at companies of all sizes and industries to present this range of annual salaries for people with the job title Tax Attorney III has been analyzed by our team of Certified Compensation Professionals.
Tax Attorney IV salary is $180,364 as of May 30, 2017, with a range usually between $155,733 to $206,612 however, this can vary widely based on a variety of factors. Our team of Certified Compensation Professionals has examined survey data collected from thousands of HR departments at companies of all sizes and industries to present this assortment of salaries in America for individuals with the project name Tax Attorney IV.
When Do You Need Tax Lawyers?
The Internal Revenue Service has its fingers in lots of pies and not all of them pertain to individual tax returns. Estates must file returns and businesses must do too. When handling any of these types of situations you might need the help of a tax attorney:
You anticipate having a taxable estate when you die. As of 2017, this means that you expect the total value of your estate will exceed $5.49 million, or $10.98 million if you’re married, although this threshold tends to go up annually. Your heirs would have to pay an estate tax of up to 40% of the balance of these amounts as of 2017. A tax attorney can help you avoid a massive portion of your estate being taxed and devise strategies to assist you to stay below the exemption threshold.
You’re starting a business. What type of business entity should you set up? Do you want to incorporate? Can you function as a sole proprietor? Any business setup you select will have tax ramifications. Legal counsel can advise you on the structure and tax treatment of your organization, including some non-tax problems you may not otherwise have considered.
You take part in business and you need help with other legal matters, tax treatment, and contracts.
You plan to bring a suit against the IRS, you are under criminal investigation by the IRS, or you want to seek an independent review of your case before the U.S. Tax Court. In these cases, you’ll want someone who is familiar with a court. You might be best off with somebody who’s well versed in the law although certain non-attorneys can represent clients in court. This is especially true if you’ve committed an act of claiming deductions or credits tax fraud. Your relationship with your lawyer and anything you say to him or confide in him are typically privileged. This means he is under no obligation or duty to divulge it to the courtroom. This is not always true of accountants.
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