Many people envisage the work of a tax attorney to be always stressful, involving courtroom litigation. However, this doesn’t mean that tax attorneys don’t have a fruitful career. The best part about being a tax attorney is that they will never become obsolete. Taxes will always exist, and so will the tax lawyers. Making a career as a tax lawyer will help provide stability and longevity.
Education of a tax attorney
If you want to be a tax attorney, there is an educational path specifically mapped out for you. The one thing that you need to know before starting a career in this field is that it is very different from family law and won’t involve a lot of personal interaction. You will be interacting with ‘Numbers.’ This is why students who want to be future tax attorneys need to have a strong academic background. Here are some education requirements for a tax attorney:
- A Bachelor’s Degree
- Law School admission through LSAT
- Juris Doctor Law Degree
- Passing the Bar examination
The first step towards becoming a tax attorney is earning a bachelor’s degree. But there is no specific undergraduate degree that you need. However, it is recommended that you major in either accounting or business to help you prepare for law school better.
Once you have graduated, you would have to take the Law School Admission Test or the LSAT. This score is compulsory for admission to any law school and without which no school will even consider your application. If you want to get into a top tier law school, it is important that your application is strong. Also, there are only a limited number of seats, and having a good LSAT score will strengthen your position. You can take LSAT more than once. However, you will have to report test scores for a period of 5 years. So, it is important that you perform well on your first attempt.
Now that you are in law school, you need to focus on the extreme workload you will be facing. Every law degree is 3 years long, and the specific requirements and courses will depend on the school you are in. In law school, you will learn everything you need to know about the field.
After graduating, the next step is passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination or the MPRE. In the exam, you will be asked 60 questions about ethics. Once you get a passing score in this, you will be eligible for taking the State Bar Examination.
Next comes the most difficult step in becoming a tax attorney – the Bar Exam. Students usually spend months preparing for it. It is a very comprehensive exam in which students are tested in all areas of the law. However, the bar exam is not the same for every state. To be a Los Angeles Tax Attorney, you might have to check up the Bar Exam in the California state. It might include either one of the following:
- MBE (Multistate Bar Examination)
- MEE (Multistate Essay Examination)
- MPT (Multistate Performance Test)
- UBE (Uniform Bar Examination)
The Bar examination is the final step in the journey of a tax attorney’s education.
Skills and job description of a tax attorney
It is clear that a tax attorney is responsible for helping people and businesses with their taxes. Now, this could include representing them during disputes with the IRS or any other government agency or finding a legal way to reduce any tax exposure. Also, their job involves a number of tasks like doing research on tax law, negotiating with other lawyers, conducting transactions, etc. If they are representing their clients in a court, they will be preparing for a trial.
A tax attorney can enter into a number of specialty fields including the following:
- Corporate tax
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Estate planning
- Real estate tax
Regardless of the area you choose, there are some required qualities that a tax attorney should possess to be successful in their field.
- Attention to detail
- Knowledge of IRS protocol
- Knowledge of tax law
- Strong analytical reasoning
- A strong foundation of legal codes
- Updated on the government regulations
One of the main duties of a tax attorney, or for that matter any attorney, is ensuring full compliance for clients. This means that they have to strictly adhere to government deadlines. Another responsibility of a tax lawyer is working on designing a tax planning project. For projects like these, creativity is needed, and usually, clients hand over the responsibility to their attorneys who are tax experts. Also, there are some other complicated job assignments that a tax attorney must perform, including providing support to the clients through domestic market calculations. Tax audits are another important and common responsibility of a tax attorney.
It is the job of a tax attorney to help individual clients and business owners understand their tax situation. The reason why these tax experts are so much in demand is that the tax is an important and essential part of every business transaction. Even NGOs hire tax attorneys for documenting their transactions and staying updated with all the tax processes involved. Also, tax attorneys are the client’s line of defense against state tax agencies and the IRS.
Salary of a tax attorney
Attorneys are usually paid through billable hours. The same goes for tax attorneys. They will have to log every single minute of work done for the clients. The salary of a tax attorney depends on their experience. For example, the entry-level tax attorneys earn an average of $77,000 to $105,000, which is less than the average income. They spend most of their time conducting research. With experience, the value of a tax attorney also increases. Also, the salary will depend on the city you live in. This means that a Los Angeles tax attorney might earn more than a tax attorney in smaller cities. According to Glassdoor, a Los Angeles Tax attorney earns on an average of $141,000 per year while a Houston Tax attorney earns about $133,000 per year.
Every business and every professional has to deal with taxes. This means that no matter which sector you work in or which state you live in, you will need a tax attorney. These tax experts can be hired by a law firm or an accounting firm. Tax attorneys are very flexible. They can work in a law firm, in a large corporation, or have their own business. It is a stable field for any lawyer. And if you want to work as a less-stressed lawyer, tax law is the one for you.