Tax lawyers, or tax attorneys, are responsible for assisting individuals who are being audited by the IRS. These attorneys are responsible for investigating legal cases in the field of business law, and helping clients understand their rights when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service.
When studying for my business degree, I reviewed several job opportunities and career paths in the field of accounting, auditing and tax preparation. A career as a tax lawyer, or tax attorney, seemed attractive to me at the time because I had a strong interest in business law and tax preparation. Even though I eventually pursued an educational career in marketing, I had considered several careers in the field of business law and learned about different opportunities available for tax lawyers, or tax attorneys.
If you have interest in tax law or becoming a tax attorney, here’s what you need to know about educational requirements and primary responsibilities of a tax lawyer:
Primary Responsibilities and Duties of a Tax Lawyer
Tax lawyers must have a strong working knowledge and background about taxation in their state, negotiation skills, and advanced legal investigation skills. They must have several years of experience litigating tax liability and auditing cases, and be prepared to represent clients in court. Some of the other primary responsibilities and duties of a tax lawyer include:
– Provide counseling on various types of tax problems the individual or corporation has encountered
– Maintain tax records of the client
– Keep up with filing deadlines related to taxes
– Maintain complete confidentiality of records and tax information
– Perform risk assessment reports
– Conduct tax-related research and analysis based on Federal and State tax laws
– Devise strategies to solve financial and tax-related problems for the client
– Conduct tax basis calculations
– Work to minimize tax penalties associated with tax-related problems
Training and Education Requirements of a Tax Lawyer
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that tax lawyers must have extensive knowledge of accounting, in addition to completing state lawyer requirements. In most cases, the individual must complete at least four years of undergraduate study and three years of law school in order to become a lawyer in any field.
In order to practice law in their state, the tax attorney must be licensed or admitted to the state bar as established by the jurisdiction’s highest court.
Professional tax attorneys need to be a Juris Doctor (Attorney at Law) and also have an educational background in accounting or finance. Many holding at least a bachelors degree in accounting, finance or related field, and are Certified Public Accountants. Some tax lawyers hold a Master’s of Law in Taxation, and almost all will take continuing education courses to ensure that they are up-to-date on the latest tax law changes.
A tax lawyer may choose to work independently by providing private tax counseling and advice to clients as an independent contractor, work for a private practice, or work exclusively for a small business or corporation. Some tax lawyers are hired by the Federal government, as well as state and private academic institutions.