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 who 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.
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 Background
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.
Skills and Competencies
- 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
According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Tax Attorney with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $48,000
- Tampa, Florida: $41,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $40,000
- Miami, Florida: $57,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $52,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $60,000
- Houston, Texas: $61,000
- Los Angeles, California: $60,000
- New York City, New York: $65,000
- Seattle, Washington: $68,000
- Overall: $59,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $63,000
- Tampa, Florida: $60,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $61,000
- Miami, Florida: $70,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $90,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $83,000
- Houston, Texas: $85,000
- Los Angeles, California: $95,000
- New York City, New York: $80,000
- Seattle, Washington: $90,000
- Overall: $79,000
Similar Job Titles
- Tax Controversy Attorney
- Corporate Tax Attorney
- Transactional Tax Attorney
Tax Attorneys are required to have a Juris Doctorate from an accredited law school and a license to practice law in the state where they work. Tax Attorneys must also take and pass the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination) before taking the bar examination. College coursework in areas like in business law, accounting and related topics is helpful and can make candidates attractive to employers. Many Tax Attorneys are also certified public accountants (CPAs), which involves further education and licensing.
Most attorneys start out in law firms as associates, then progress along with either a partner or non-partner track, leading to positions as partners, senior attorneys, or of counsel. Tax Attorneys can also work in-house for businesses and organizations.
Tax laws, especially in the U.S., are constantly changing, and it’s vital for Tax Attorneys to keep up with those changes in order to protect their clients. According to the industry website Above the Law, there are some trends a Tax Attorney should be aware of. The tax law field tends to ebb and flow with the economy. In times of economic uncertainty, there are fewer mergers and acquisitions, which means Tax Attorneys who specialize in those areas of tax law could see a slowdown in business. It also means clients will be more cost-conscious and concerned with limiting tax liability. However, with major changes in tax laws, there is a greater need for Tax Attorneys to help clients comply with, understand, and navigate those new laws.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for Attorneys is expected to grow by six percent between 2018 and 2028, which is as fast as average.
The work hours in an office setting for a Tax Attorney are usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many attorneys work more than 40 hours a week or on weekends, especially when nearing deadlines.
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