Taxation law professionals help clients understand rules and regulations of the tax code while helping them file the appropriate tax documents. Read on to learn more about academic requirements, employment outlook and salaries for this field.
Is Taxation Law for Me?
Lawyers, accountants and personal financial advisors are some of the professionals who often handle issues concerning tax laws. Anyone working in tax law must have an in-depth knowledge of the laws that pertain to their area of work. For example, attorneys who work for large companies need to be experienced in corporate tax law, and personal financial advisors need to be knowledgeable in income tax laws that might affect their clients. Skills using accounting applications and expertise in writing are useful to workers in taxation law. Tax law professionals usually work in an office setting, but some may spend time in the courtroom or meet with clients on location. You are able to work a typical 40-hour week in most tax laws jobs, but if you are a tax lawyer, then you may end up working over 50 hours each week.
Employment Outlook and Salary Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that accountants were projected to see a 13% increase in job opportunities between 2012 and 2022, while personal financial advisors would experience a 27% increase (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that accountants earned a median annual income of $65,080 in 2013, and personal financial advisors made $75,320. Lawyers had one of the highest median salaries of all occupations, having earned $114,300 in 2013. Although they were projected to have a 10% growth in job opportunities between 2012 and 2022, lawyers were expected to face significant competition for jobs due to the high volume of law students who graduate each year.
How Can I Work in Taxation Law?
Most careers in taxation law require you to have at least a graduate degree. Although accountants and personal financial advisors usually only need a bachelor's degree, degrees that specialize in tax law are normally only found at the graduate level. A bachelor's degree in accounting, economics or business can be a good starting point if you wish to obtain a master's degree in tax law. A master's degree in tax law can be useful for personal financial advisors and accountants who do not practice law. If you wish to work as a lawyer in tax law, you will need a law degree.
Law School Programs
All potential lawyers must take the Law School Admission Test before they can be admitted to law school. Most lawyers receive a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree upon completion of law school. A Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree is an advanced professional degree that can lead to more job opportunities as a tax lawyer. Some law schools may offer a combined J.D. and LL.M. degree option that usually will take a couple of additional semesters to complete.
Most law schools with tax law programs give you the opportunity to specialize in a particular area, such as corporate taxation, personal financial planning or employee benefits. You can take courses in estate planning, tax accounting and taxation of intellectual property, just to list a few of the options. After you graduate from law school, you must become licensed by the bar of the state you wish to work in. This requires you to pass the bar exam and sometimes an ethics exam as well.