How to Become a Tax Attorney

Tax attorneys help their clients navigate tax laws so they can make the right business decisions or personal finance choices. tax lawyers work at law firms, sometimes as separate of corporate legal teams. Tax lawyer salaries average $ 101,898, making this a lucrative career choice .
This page outlines the skills and department of education needed to become a tax lawyer, covering the process of becoming one, how long it takes, and details regarding credentials, license, and continuing department of education credits. The page concludes with a list of career and professional resources for aspiring and current tax lawyers .


Tax attorneys must possess comprehensive cognition of the federal tax code and other tax laws. They besides must understand business and fiscal strategies. Law school covers much of this subject count, particularly for students focusing on tax and business law. The follow part discusses other skills needed to successfully practice tax law .
tax lawyers must have acquaintance with tax laws to properly advise clients on how to take advantage of tax credits, communicate on behalf of clients with the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ), and drill in tax court. Some tax attorneys work in the area of estate of the realm planning, in which they rede clients on how to social organization wills and trusts for utmost tax benefits.

Law school teaches students to think like lawyers, synthesize complicated laws, and express themselves efficaciously orally and in writing. Tax attorneys boasting the adopt skills can expect to excel in their careers :

Accounting and Math

Students typically gain these skills before entering law school through undergraduate classes in mathematics or account. Tax attorneys need a hearty sympathy of both .


Despite the tax code ‘s complexities, attorneys must know how to explain it to their clients in knit, apprehensible speech to help them make decisions. Attorneys must hone absolved write and articulate speak skills .

Critical-thinking and Analysis

Attorneys need skills to read statutes and case law and accurately analyze and apply these laws to their clients ‘ situations .


The tax code constantly changes, so attorneys need potent research skills to provide current advice to their clients .

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The path to becoming a tax lawyer typically consists of the follow steps :

  • Step 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree, preferably in accounting, business, or mathematics. This typically takes four years.
  • Step 2: Study for and take the law school admissions test, a standardized exam assessing analytical reasoning, logic, and reading comprehension. Plan to spend a few weeks studying, and consider a test preparation course, such as those offered through Kaplan and the Princeton Review.
  • Step 3: Research and apply to law schools accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). It could take up to a year to complete this step, which requires research, school visits, and complete applications. Consider costs, financial aid, graduation and hiring rates, location, and school size and culture when deciding where to apply and attend. In general, private law schools feature higher price tags than public institutions. Many students, however, receive some scholarship money or financial aid.
  • Step 4: Apply for a summer internship at a tax law firm after your first year of law school to gain valuable experience and increase your chances of finding employment after graduation.
  • Step 5: Earn your juris doctor degree (JD), which typically takes three years.
  • Step 6: Apply for jobs. Firms and companies often interview law students in their last year of study. Some employers hire students or new graduates contingent on their passing the bar exam. Tax attorneys often choose a focus area, such as business tax, corporate tax, estate and gift taxation, finance, international tax, federal taxation, or successions.
  • Step 7: Study for and take a state bar exam, which comprises 2-3 days of testing, which may include multiple-choice and essay portions. Expect to spend two months studying, dedicating most of your free time to test preparation. Again, consider taking a test prep course, such as BAR/BRI or Kaplan.
  • Optional: Obtain a state certification or an advanced degree in tax law, which can take up to five additional years. Though not required to practice tax law, these credentials can create opportunities for more jobs with higher salaries. For example, attorneys who want to advertise specialization in tax law must hold the proper certification to do so. State certification typically requires an exam and five years of work experience in tax law. A master of law (LLM) in taxation usually takes two years to complete and can shave a year or more off the work experience requirement for certification. Some firms require their tax attorneys to hold LLMs.


Tax attorneys need a bachelor ‘s degree and a JD. The segment below describes the educational requirements in more detail. Landing a job as an lawyer can be challenging and competitive, and a law academic degree does not guarantee employment .

about all law schools require a bachelor ‘s degree for admission . Students who wish to pursue careers as tax attorneys should focus their undergraduate studies on account, commercial enterprise, or mathematics. Virtually all jurisprudence schools requires a knight bachelor ‘s degree for admission. A JD degree program begins with a broad-based course of study, which covers general law topics such as torts, contracts, civil routine, constituent law, and legal research and write. During their second and third years, students can take elective courses in their areas of interest.

Aspiring tax lawyers ‘ class options much include presentation to union tax, taxation of corporations and shareholders, tax practice and routine, and external taxation. Some schools may offer JDs in tax, but most have JD/LLM joint degrees. Students may besides opt for coincident degree programs, such as a JD/MBA .

Most country bar associations require candidates to hold degrees from ABA-accredited law schools to take the bar examination and obtain licensure . JD degree holders without a taxation appellation can silent become tax attorneys, but they should complete significant coursework covering tax and occupation topics .
Most country prevention associations require candidates to hold degrees from ABA-accredited law schools to take the bar examination and obtain licensure. In addition, most law firms only hire graduates from ABA-accredited schools. Non-accredited and state-accredited schools exist, but they normally lead to a dead end .


Practicing tax attorneys must hold a license conferred by a state of matter stripe association. entrance fee requirements for the browning automatic rifle may vary by jurisdiction, but the follow sections summarize the processes for obtaining and maintaining active voice licensure and becoming certified as a tax lawyer .
Certifications and Continuing education
All licensed attorneys must complete continuing legal education ( CLE ) to maintain their active bar membership. The act of needed credits varies by legal power, but it normally takes 2-3 years to earn the command credits .
department of state and local bar associations often offer CLEs for free or reduced rates. The ABA and a number of secret companies besides host CLEs. Attorneys can besides earn CLE credit on-line or at in-person class sessions and conferences. Attorneys who want to advance their careers and promote themselves as tax specialists may pursue board documentation in tax police from their stripe association. Certification candidates must pass a forte examination and log hours working in taxation, with hour requirements specified by their bar association .
police schools and secret organizations offer certificates in tax police, which can enhance professionals ‘ careers, but practitioners should know that ethics rules contain nonindulgent mandates about whether attorneys can advertise themselves as specialists. Candidates should check with their state barricade association for guidance .
Credentials and Licensing
Practicing attorneys, including tax attorneys, must gain admission to their department of state bar. A JD from an ABA-accredited law school and a pass grade on their department of state ‘s bar examination constitute the minimal license requirements. State bar associations conduct extensive background checks on candidates for bar membership to determine their moral quality and fitness to practice police. Attorneys approved for membership attend a swearing-in ceremony and receive their credentials, after which they can begin practicing police.

Some jurisdictions share reciprocality, but by and large, attorneys who want to commit in another express must take a new barroom examination and apply for license in that state .

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