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Lawyers Finding Careers in the Tax Industry

published December 21, 2012

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 5 votes, average: 3.4 out of 5)
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Considering the total activity of a corporate tax department, it is not hard to understand that there is a perennial debate as to whether this is a financial or legal function. At the entry level, much of the work is involved in the preparation of the more than 500 tax returns that must be filed to meet federal, state and local tax requirements. In addition, reports are prepared for taxes on income, sales, use, property, capital stock franchises, payroll, license fees, etc., plus keeping records of all these returns and reports for reference. In large corporations, the amounts involved can easily be $100,000,000 or more.

Tax departments, however, are involved in a great many more activities. In more senior positions, the duties are likely to include one or more of the following:
  • Supervising the review of the tax returns of domestic affiliates and foreign affiliates, as well, if the company has them. Supervising the conduct of federal, state and local (and possibly foreign) tax audits and examinations and developing an amicable professional relationship with the Federal Income Tax Auditors and state and local tax officials.
  • Supervising and reviewing preparation and argument of protests of administrative actions, claims for refund and may participate in court litigation either directly or through review of activities of outside counsel.
  • Advising management with respect to the tax effects of completed transactions and suggesting possible alternatives. Frequently, there is a good deal of work in relation to real estate and personal property taxes.
  • Seeking to lawfully influence proposed tax legislaton and regulation by meeting with members of the Congressional tax writing committees and their staff, as well as with members of the U.S. Treasury Department, either individually or through various trade associations and other professional groups. Similar activities will be undertaken with state and local officials.
  • Conducting seminars, meetings and the like to inform appropriate corporate personnel of relevant developments in the tax field affecting their operations.
  • Advising the international division of a multinational corporation regarding taxes of foreign countries and the related effects of foreign operations on United States taxes to determine proper planning and compliance.
  • Initiating tax advice as part of the corporation's financial planning process.

In view of the responsibilities involved and the nature of the functions performed, some corporations will require that all persons in the tax department be lawyers, while others will list this as a desirable qualification. Most corporations, however, will insist on an undergraduate degree in accounting with special credit given for advanced degrees relating to tax work.

If you are interested in the tax industry, please visit this page for latest available entry level tax attorney jobs.

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

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