A tax lawyer guides clients through complex tax laws, potentially saving substantial sums of money by taking advantage of allowable deductions. Tax lawyers also help individuals and companies in the event of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). ax attorneys represent clients before federal, state, and local taxing authorities, as well as individuals and businesses that are under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Other roles of a tax attorney include structuring, negotiating, and documenting business entities, and advising clients regarding the tax implications of certain financing, joint ventures, tax-exempt organizations, taxation of compensation, estates, and gifts, and the U.S. taxation of international transactions. Tax attorneys advise corporations and high net worth individuals with respect to all areas of tax law on a day-to-day basis. They monitor legislative developments and advise clients with respect to the potential impact of pending legislation on their businesses and their personal finances. They often work hand-in-hand with corporate in-house counsel.
Some tax attorneys work exclusively in estate law. That might sound like a reach, but consider the significant federal estate tax rate, although only very valuable estates are subject to it. A firm understanding of tax law is required to navigate the labyrinth of various trusts, charitable foundations, and other estate-planning tools to avoid or mitigate an estate tax bill that could effectively derail a family business or otherwise leave very little for heirs to inherit.
To be eligible for an undergraduate programme in Tax Law, the candidate must have passed or qualified the 10+2 examination or an equivalent examination from a recognised board or university. In addition, the candidate is required to score at least 50%-60% aggregate marks in the qualifying exam.
What do they do?
- Buying or Selling a Business: Tax attorneys can advise business owners on matters such as capital gains and depreciation to minimize their tax liabilities.
- Starting a Business: Tax attorneys help their clients choose the entity type, such as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), S-Corp or C-Corp, and determine their potential tax outcomes.
- Owning a Business Overseas: Tax attorneys can advise clients about any exemptions, to help them avoid paying any unnecessary taxes.
- Leaving Money or Property to Heirs: Estate planning is a complex sub-specialty of tax law.
- Audit by the IRS: Tax attorneys help clients prepare for an audit. An audit does not necessarily mean a client has done something wrong; it just means the IRS wants to take a closer look. Tax attorneys help clients navigate the process, meeting with IRS officials and representing the client in tax court, if necessary.
When you work in Tax, you need to explain complex regulations in a way non-specialists can understand. Clear written and verbal communication is an absolute must.
You don’t need to be a maths genius – plenty of humanities students get into Tax. But you do need to be comfortable with numbers.
To be successful, you’ll need to priorities tasks, meet deadlines and take personal responsibility for a professional workload.
- Get your application in well before the deadline
- Be on time for your interview
- Tackle in-tray exercises methodically. Practice in advance – you can find tests online
Organisations want their employees to be honestly enthusiastic about their jobs. Commercial awareness shows you’re interested in your industry and you’ll be able to keep up with changes as you work.
In Tax, you often need to get creative. For example, if you want to reduce the tax a client pays there are a huge range of tools you could recommend, such as trusts and tax-free investments. It’s up to you to find a clever solution.
Attention to detail
In tax law, the regulations say exactly what they mean – and you need to interpret them exactly that way. That means paying attention to every word.
Firstly, tax law offers the widest variety of subfields to choose from. Nobody practices tax law. They practice a specific area of tax, such as indirect tax, direct tax, customs, trade tariffs, transfer pricing etc. The hurdle, however, is that a student is not exposed to the multiple career options tax law has to offer in the majority of law schools.
A student is only exposed to direct tax and indirect tax in separate semesters. He might learn to compute tax liability from gross total income under direct tax and computation of GST liability in a mechanical manner. Most study to just pass exams, and are out of steam by the final year when tax law courses are usually offered and just want to get done with the syllabus.Have you ever thought that tax law has a constitutional law angle? That’s why tax lawyers become amazing constitutional lawyers eventually – from Harish Salve, Nani Palkhiwala to Arvind Datar.
Income Tax Departments
Lakshmikumaran and Sridharan(L&S)
Economic Laws Practice
Nishith Desai Associates
BMR Legal Advocates
AZB & Partners