The term “tax attorney” refers to a professional who practices law concerning taxation. Taxation law or tax law is a field of applied legal research in which governmental or public bodies, including state, county and national governments employ a body of rules and laws to evaluate and collect taxes from individuals in a lawful context. Tax issues may arise out of inability to pay taxes, civil wrongs, or even serious tax evasion. Tax attorneys can advise their clients on appropriate tax strategies and can assist them in the preparation of tax returns.
Tax attorneys can also be called tax planners. In general, tax planning involves using a certain amount of tax deductions (usually tax rebates) in order to lower tax payments. A tax professional can offer tax planning advice to individuals and families. An attorney can draft tax plans for businesses, partnerships, and other enterprises. Tax professionals can also prepare other tax related documents, such as those related to estate planning.
Tax attorneys can be licensed by states to practice independently. They can also participate in tax preparation classes, and in many cases, can offer tax advice to clients. In some states, tax attorneys are required to have attained a specific degree in tax law, and in other states, they are not required to have a degree in tax law. Generally, however, tax professionals must be licensed with the Internal Revenue Service. In most states, tax professionals can practice privately without a license.
All United States residents who are required to pay income taxes must complete a state application for tax credit or refund. In most states, tax preparation is a part of the state application. In order to take the state bar exam, tax attorneys must pass a state bar exam that is based on a particular set of state bar exam questions. In almost every state, tax preparation is a part of the application, but some states allow tax preparation to be separately passed. In most states, tax attorneys must file a separate application with their state Bar; in some states, they must file the entire state bar application.
Tax professionals are required to take a number of courses related to tax preparation before they can practice legally. Some tax professionals take two years and study for the state bar exam, while others complete the course in as little as eight weeks. The courses related to tax preparation typically cover state tax codes, IRS regulations, state tax laws, payroll, economic theory, auditing, and estate planning. Courses related to ethics may be taken as well. Some tax professionals work directly with taxpayers, representing them before the IRS, or working for a firm that represents the IRS. Many tax attorneys work for firms that represent business or individuals.
Tax attorneys need to meet specific education and bar exam requirements in order to practice. Most state laws do not require licensing or registration, but most require advanced training and certification. Tax attorneys must successfully pass the state bar exam and take state and federal bar courses to keep their licenses current. Some states have special considerations for tax code attorneys, including having a specific area of expertise, such as tax foreclosure or tax relief. Tax professionals who wish to continue education in order to stay current on changes to the tax code, tax courts, and other issues may also need to take bar courses to remain in compliance.