A tax lawyer is a lawyer who concentrates on the tax laws of his/her country of residence. Tax law or income tax law is a body of law where official or unofficial bodies, including state and federal governments, use a systematic body of rules and processes to assess and collect taxes from individuals in a legal framework. Tax lawyers are well versed with the formalities of filing taxes and are authorized to represent their clients in court proceedings and provide advice on tax planning, income tax and other tax issues. They provide services like preparing returns, filing returns, defending clients in court proceedings, processing refunds, and representing people in tax court proceedings and other administrative law court proceedings.
Tax law, in turn, includes various practice areas like audits, assessments, default taxes, federal tax liens, compliance, payrolls, federal tax appeals, tax audit preparation, and tax relief. These areas of specialization are further subdivided into administrative law, criminal law, probate, tax and corporate law. The latter includes taxation laws for businesses, corporations, and estates. It also covers debt, estate taxes, and gifts. The majority of these lawyers are experts in one or more of these areas. They therefore know how to deal with problems that may arise out of transactions for which they are responsible.
A tax lawyer can also help clients in preparing and filing income tax returns for the individual. He/she might also advise clients on options available for reducing tax liability. For instance, a client might need to take a loan against his home in order to avoid payment of the income tax. The tax lawyer might therefore recommend loan tax planning. He would also advise the client on options available to reduce his liability for levy, including taking steps to stop paying penalty fees and interest.
Another practice area for tax lawyers is preparing IRS reports to hand out to taxpayers about the tax-free allowance they are entitled to. The number of taxpayers who claim this allowance is dwindling because of widespread tax evasion. Thus, tax lawyers are often called upon to advise taxpayers on how to claim their unclaimed allowance. The most common method used is to file returns personally or through the attorney.
In addition, tax lawyers report cases of fraud or criminal behavior. This involves investigating and advising clients on whether they are innocent of tax crimes such as cheating on federal tax laws, tax evasion, fraudulent, etc. Some fraudsters have even tried to use organizations that process tax refunds to escape paying taxes. The lawyer might be called upon to determine if the claim was made legitimately and, if so, to pursue it in court.
The degree to which a tax lawyer earns can be from high school to law school. Most specialize only in taxation law. They go on to get master degrees and doctorates, depending on the specialization they pursue. Most states do not require law degrees to be achieved before practicing taxation. The licensing boards for taxation positions require either a bachelor’s degree or law degree from an accredited law school.