What Does a Tax Attorney Do?
Tax attorneys help businesses, organizations, and individuals with legal issues regarding their taxes. That includes helping organizations limit their exposure to tax liabilities. Tax attorneys also handle issues for clients who may be in tax disputes with the IRS or other government entities that levy taxes. Legal industry observers and thought leaders say the job of a tax attorney can come with less stress than other legal specialties. Since taxes aren’t going away anytime soon, it’s also considered a very stable area of practice.
A tax attorney should have knowledge of laws and regulations relating to taxes, as well as a background in accounting and business law. Skills common to most attorney positions, such as written and verbal communication, research, and negotiation, are also important for a tax attorney.
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National Average Salary
Tax attorney salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a Tax Attorney is:
Tax Attorney Job Descriptions
It’s important to include the right content in your job description when hiring a tax attorney. The following examples can serve as templates for attracting the best available talent for your team.
Tax attorneys represent corporations and individuals who are being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, as well as by state and local taxing authorities. They also work with clients to help limit exposure to tax liabilities. A tax attorney should have a solid knowledge of laws and regulations relating to taxes, excellent written and verbal communication, and strong research and negotiation skills. [Your Company Name] is hiring an experienced tax attorney to ensure our business stays at the expert level it’s at. As an ideal candidate, you have experience handling legal matters related to taxes and taxation for businesses, organizations, or individuals.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Advise and counsel clients on legal matters relating to taxes, from limiting tax liability to audits, mergers and acquisitions and prosecuting disputes with government entities who levy taxes
- Litigate tax disputes in court if necessary
- Write and file motions and court briefs
- Negotiate tax settlements
Education and experience
This position requires a Juris Doctorate as well as a license to practice law in the state where the candidate will work. Tax attorneys must also take and pass the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination) before taking the bar examination.
College coursework in business law, taxation, accounting, and related topics is preferred.
Required skills and qualifications
- Expertise in written and verbal communication
- Knowledge of federal, state and local tax laws
- Research skills
- Analytical thinking
- Negotiation skills
- Litigation experience
- Accounting skills and expertise
- Excellent knowledge of tax practices
- 5+ years of experience working as a tax attorney
- Strong analytical skills
- Leading the mergers and acquisitions process to include advising and counseling ABC Company and its clients on all phases of the process; performing and/or managing due diligence; drafting, reviewing, and negotiating term sheets, letters of intent, purchase agreements, and ancillary transactional documents, Board of Director resolutions, shareholder/member resolutions and consents, and entity charter documentation
- Assisting with business entity governance, including, but not limited to, the formation and dissolution of corporate entities
- Drafting and negotiating non-compete agreements, confidentiality agreements, and non-disclosure agreements, that are tailored to state-specific laws related to restrictive covenants and trade secrets
- Working directly with executives of ABC Company and its internal clients to provide legal support on a variety of matters
- Assisting with other internal corporate projects, as needed
Qualifications & skills
The candidate must demonstrate a commitment to working as a hands-on partner with a team-oriented approach and exhibit a passion for understanding ABC Company’s business and contribute in a meaningful way to its long-term strategic goals.
- 3-5 years of relevant legal experience obtained at a prominent law firm and/or sophisticated corporate legal department with a focus on corporate transactions
- Ability to manage multiple projects with firm deadlines in a high growth, fast-paced, hands-on environment
- Superior intellect, with the ability to think critically and make clear and well-reasoned decisions in complex situations
- Strong, pragmatic business acumen (preferably with a finance background) with the ability to recognize the business consequences of legal advice
- Excellent interpersonal, influencing, and relationship building skills and experience in dealing with people at all levels inside and outside of a high-growth company
- High level of integrity and accountability. Takes initiative and is responsible to see projects and/or tasks through until completion
- Superb oral and written communication and negotiation skills
The Law Offices of ABC Company is seeking one or more corporate attorneys to assist representation of the firm’s corporate clients in a variety of industries. Background or demonstrated interest in corporate tax or finance is a positive.
- Researching and providing legal advice to clients
- Learning the basic legal knowledge required of all corporate transactional lawyers
- Building focused legal skills and industry-specific knowledge over time
- Excellent analytical and writing skills
- Ability to anticipate and understand the challenges that clients face
- Ability to work collaboratively with a team
- Willingness to take on direct client responsibilities and learn about clients, both their businesses and as individuals
- Willingness to market both the firm and your own brand through written publications, speeches, seminars, and professional networking
The Tax Attorney will oversee the firm’s comprehensive risk management program, assessing and identifying risks that could impede the reputation, safety, security, or financial success of ABC Company.
- Provide guidance and support on organizational legal issues and update CFO weekly
- Review and respond to subpoenas
- Ensure we are meeting all legal entity and professional filing requirements
- Conduct annual legal training regarding corporate contract signing authority
- Occasionally review RFPs to identify any risks or concerns and provide recommendations
- Review and update firm PSAs
- Develop background check process for vendors and customers
- Review contracts and engagement letters to prevent potential disputes and financial risks
- Collect and analyze data on historical losses to identify trends
- Develop controls meant to minimize risk or loss and oversee implementation
- Research and analyze laws and regulations
- Assist in the review of insurance and risk management programs for effectiveness of coverage and to reduce insurance costs and losses
- Bachelor’s degree in Business Law, Risk Management, Finance, or related field required
- JD required
- Licensed Attorney in the state of (State) or (State)
- At least one year of related experience preferred
- MBA helpful
- Thorough understanding of policies and best practices of corporate law regarding contracts and corporate structure law
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Basic understanding of M&A law and HR law
- Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
- Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Ability to maintain confidentiality at all times
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Board Certified Tax Lawyer Specialist. Many states offer a Board Certified Specialist exam for tax law specialists. The requirements vary by state, but they include a level of experience, a law degree, and a certain amount of continuing education in the field of tax law. The exam is rigorous and very hard, which means a board-certified tax lawyer has a level of expertise found only if the very best tax lawyers. Most candidates specialize in a particular area of tax law.
- Masters of Law (LLM) in Tax Law. The LLM in tax law is designed for lawyers who want to specialize in this field of law. Offered at many schools of law, the program follows comprehensive, real-world case studies and helps candidates identify common tax issues and how to apply tax law in a variety of contexts. They also learn the intricacies of the Internal Revenue Code, and more.
Sample Interview Questions
- What area of tax law appeals to you the most?
- Describe your process for ensuring clients are following tax laws and regulations.
- Could you tell me about a time when you successfully resolved a complex tax issue for a client?
- Can you describe a time when you were unable to solve a tax issue for a client?
- Do you have experience advising clients on the tax implications of business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions or real estate transactions? If so, please describe.
- Why are you interested in this role?
- What are the most important skills for a tax attorney?
- What methods do you use to prepare for a complex trial?
- What is the most challenging case you have worked on?
- Can you give an example of when your research skills made a difference in the outcome of a case?
- How do you stay current with local, state, and federal tax laws and regulations?
- What is your greatest strength as an attorney? What is your greatest weakness?
- How would you prioritize your work when working on multiple cases at the same time?
- What mistakes have you learned from?
- How do you go about sharing difficult information with a client?
- How well do you perform under pressure?
- Why would you excel at this job?
- What is the best way to research complicated tax laws?
- What accomplishment are you most proud of?