Certified public accountants (CPAs) and tax attorneys often work in conjunction to assist their clients with audits and tax accounting issues. CPAs often work with clients dealing with finance and taxation issues, and the tax attorneys are experts who are professionally licensed to practice law, provide their clients with legal advice, and to represent clients during litigation proceedings. Many tax attorneys specialize specifically in Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-related issues, spending a majority of their time representing clients during an audit, overseeing IRS settlements, and working together with CPAs in order to acquire the proper documentation.
Tax attorneys are highly sought after because of their understanding of the complexities of tax law at the federal, state, and municipal levels. They help clients understand what’s required of them in order to remain in compliance with the law. Tax attorneys are also specialists in the minutiae of estate transfers, property acquisitions, and other transactions that require a specialized expert, such as wills.
If a client has an IRS-related hearing or an appeal in U.S. tax court, tax attorneys will be on hand to negotiate on behalf of their clients for the reduction or elimination of any tax obligations or related fines, as well as the nullification of liens. This is also true for upper-level cases in the Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, where tax attorneys are hired on retainer to represent corporate entities, non-profits, or individuals.
The requirements to become a tax attorney start at the undergraduate level. While any major is acceptable, it is recommended to choose one that will benefit your long-term goals, such as business, economics, finance, or accounting.
After a bachelor’s degree is earned, the student applies to law school. These are typically three-year programs. There is also a law school admission test (LSAT) in order to qualify for acceptance into a school that is accredited with the American Bar Association. If students know they want to enter a specialized niche like tax law, it’s important to choose a school that has a strong curriculum in that direction. It is also recommended to pick internships within the realm of interest. The more experience and connections you make in the field, the better chances for placement offers after graduation.