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How To Become A Tax Attorney: Degree & Career Guide
There are two things in life that are guaranteed to remain constant: tax and the law. And while many people see these as two entirely separate entities, they actually do intersect. It is here where the career of a tax attorney so comfortably resides.
Being a tax attorney to some may seem like a dreadful career. Some may consider this to be comprised of the most stressful things in this world. But this career hosts an extremely niche sector of elements that are guaranteed to never be obsolete in this world.
To become a tax attorney, you would need to follow rigorous steps. You would first need to get a bachelor's degree that is focused on tax accounting, then you would need to take your LSAT exam, attend law school, and pass the bar exam before applying for this job.
To become a tax accountant, you would need to dedicate the time to obtain two degrees in two different fields of specialties. But the rewards that you could reap when working in this career are endless.
If you are interested in pursuing this extremely specialized field, read on to learn everything you need to know and the steps you would need to take to become a tax attorney.
What Is A Tax Attorney?
Residing on the line between the legal field and the financial field, tax attorneys are legal specialists that are licensed and authorized to provide their clients with legal advice and services pertaining to the field of tax.
If a company or an individual faces some difficulties with their tax, or if they are being investigated for any reason regarding their taxes, a tax lawyer would be able to represent the client in court and during all tax-related investigations.
With the extensive knowledge pertaining to taxes that tax attorneys are required to have, they may be able to assist their clients in correctly and effectively executing their taxes to avoid any issues that may arise later on.
Additionally, they are able to advise their clients on methods and ways to maximize their tax benefits, and how to do so in a way that is legally correct through exemptions, deductions, and credits.
If you have found yourself struggling to choose between a career in finance or accounting and law, then perhaps this is the role you should consider.
While tax accountants do work closely with taxes and finances, they are often hired to work in law firms or in the legal divisions of large organizations rather than in the finance department.
What Does A Tax Attorney Do?
Tax attorneys execute a number of different duties from conducting appeals, tax audits, handling litigation suits, and conducting estate planning and the tax implications associated therewith, and they handle corporate mergers and acquisitions.
Given the tax implications when one company takes over another, tax attorneys have the expertise to draft accurate and detailed business contracts.
If there are any tax disputes that arise, they will be the ones to represent their clients in a court of law.
In addition to having already extensive knowledge of tax and financial law, tax lawyers are required to further research tax laws to provide their clients with holistic and comprehensive legal advice.
In situations where disputes arise for large corporations, tax lawyers will be the point of communication between the IRS and the client, and they will negotiate any conditions with the IRS on behalf of the company.
Steps To Become A Tax Accountant
Step One: Earn A Bachelor's Degree
The starting point for this career, as with many others, is for you to get a bachelor's degree in a finance-related field. Gaining your bachelor's degree in accounting, business management, or finance will prepare you for the one major element that is required to be a tax attorney.
You would also need to take coursework that covers tax-related elements.
Step Two: Prep For Law School
Once you have your bachelor's in hand, you can then begin preparing for law school. The starting point for law school is to prepare for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Be sure to put in a lot of work in preparing for this as this can make or break your entire career.
Step Three: Take The LSAT
In order for you to successfully be accepted into law school, you need to achieve a high mark on your LSAT. After extensive preparation and constant studying, you can sit for the exam which tests your analytical reasoning, and critical thinking skills. It is made up of multiple-choice questions and usually tests your ability to reason within a given situation.
Step Four: Head Off To Law School
After all this hard work and effort, you are finally ready to go off to law school. Here you will learn the basics of law and thereafter, you can begin to focus on subjects that are directly aligned with the field of tax law.
Step Five: Take The Bar Exam
The last step you would need to take before starting your career as a tax attorney would be to pass yet another exam, the hardest of them all – the bar exam.
The bar exam is specific to the state in which you are and the state in which you will be practicing as a tax attorney. The actual exam may differ slightly from state to state but it essentially consists of several multiple-choice questions and essay questions which usually take multiple consecutive days to complete.
It is extremely 'taxing,' to say the least.
However, once you have passed the bar exam, you can then begin the job search which is guaranteed to be fulfilling as you finally take on the role of being a tax attorney. Conquering this is a feat in its own right, and it's extremely admirable to get to this point.
How much Does A Tax Attorney Earn?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers, which encompasses the field of tax law, earn a median annual salary of $127,990.
What Is The Expected Job Outlook For Tax Attorneys?
The BLS states that there is a 10% projected growth in this field, with about 48,700 new job openings being made available year on year for the next decade.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Tax Attorney?
It can take anywhere from 8 to 12 years to become a fully licensed tax attorney, and this can be longer if you choose to take time to study before taking the LSAT.
Pursuing the career path of a tax attorney requires extreme dedication, one that is born out of passion and determination for growth. If this is where your interests lie, then this may be the best career path for you!
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