What is a tax lawyer (or a tax attorney)? It is a profession that is one of the most difficult to attain in the United States and elsewhere. It requires excelling both as an attorney and an accountant at the very same time. If you are either thinking of becoming a tax lawyer or wondering what is involved in the education and qualifications of one, here is a brief summary.
- A lot of time is required to study and master tax law in law school. Of all the areas of law, this may be the most complex. It is always changing, and it seems to get more complicated all the time with the addition of new rules and regulations. The student needs to begin his course toward eventually becoming a tax lawyer by obtaining a bachelor’s degree, taking courses in government, public speaking and a variety of law courses.
- Then, about a year before graduating with his bachelor’s degree, he needs to start applying to law schools. An LSAT test (Law School Admission Test, part of law school admission in the United States, Canada, Australia and a growing list of other countries) needs to be taken, and he should be thoroughly prepared for the exam. The LSAT exam takes a half a day to complete and is offered four times a year, but it cannot be taken buy a student more than three times in a two year period, so he should take great care to study and do well the first time if possible. It tests the student in three areas: 1. reading comprehension, 2. logic, and 3. verbal reasoning. Law schools that are American Bar Association accredited require an LSAT score with the student’s application. Which law schools should be chosen? Law schools that have tax law programs are required.
- Then, an internship is required. That trains a young tax lawyer in the ins and outs of tax law as he prepares for his new profession. Veteran tax lawyers are invaluable at this point to the young student, and it can help very much with boosting a career, as well as look good on a resume or in a letter of recommendation.
- If a tax law student gets involved in a political club, law review, university tax club or other student activity while he is at school, he is likely to improve his chances of finding employment as a tax lawyer after he graduates. Don’t let your busy schedule keep you from taking advantage in this area. You’ll develop a network, help one another, and make like-minded friends and future colleagues for decades or even life.
- In the United States, he must pass the bar exam, which is not easy to do. He should give himself a few months to study for the important exam. Each state has its own exam for that particular state, or a multistate exam for practicing tax law beyond that state. He should register for a testing date with his state’s bar association. Resources are available to help with that endeavor.
- Lastly, jobs should be applied for. He can contact tax legal firms in his community, or use more common resources such as online job placement services. Plus, those veteran tax lawyers and fellow tax lawyer students he met earlier can help him now. He should make sure his resume is constantly updated along the way, and he should also make sure he includes memberships, associations, and anything else that will help him get a great job. Tax lawyer professionals usually earn $64,000 and $116,000 per year. Understanding the salary range will assist him in negotiating the best compensation offer.
Once a tax lawyer graduates and gets a job, he will most likely be used more by businesses of all sizes than by individual tax payers. Accountants are normally used alone before tax lawyers are called for help for individual tax payers. And both tax lawyers and accountants can sometimes be used in conjunction by businesses with very complex cases. But since tax lawyers have greater insight into tax laws, they are most helpful in finding ways for businesses to save tax money. A tax lawyer has his work cut out for him, but he will greatly appreciated if he does a good job.