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Business Law: Tax Law

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Tax Law

The heart of tax law revolves around the application of the enormously complex Internal Revenue Code to the specific facts of a client’s commercial and financial circumstances. Tax lawyers counsel clients as to the tax considerations relevant to choosing the form of a business venture (for example, as a corporation or a partnership), capitalizing the enterprise (for example, the tax consequences of raising funds through issuing debt or equity, in all their varied forms), and operating the enterprise. Tax lawyers advise clients on how to balance their tax objectives against their other financial or business goals or constraints. They also represent clients in business negotiations with business counterparties that may have tax objectives that conflict with the client’s objectives, such as mergers and acquisitions or licensing transactions. They regularly deal with such tax issues as international tax, tax [...]

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The heart of tax law revolves around the application of the enormously complex Internal Revenue Code to the specific facts of a client’s commercial and financial circumstances. Tax lawyers counsel clients as to the tax considerations relevant to choosing the form of a business venture (for example, as a corporation or a partnership), capitalizing the enterprise (for example, the tax consequences of raising funds through issuing debt or equity, in all their varied forms), and operating the enterprise. Tax lawyers advise clients on how to balance their tax objectives against their other financial or business goals or constraints. They also represent clients in business negotiations with business counterparties that may have tax objectives that conflict with the client’s objectives, such as mergers and acquisitions or licensing transactions. They regularly deal with such tax issues as international tax, tax accounting, corporate tax, partnership tax, S corporations, transfer pricing, criminal tax, tax policy, tax credits and incentives, taxation of natural resources, and withholding tax issues. Tax lawyers specializing in a tax controversy practice also defend clients before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and courts if their clients’ tax positions are challenged. These tax lawyers apply their skills in such venues as: Treasury conference rooms, Congress, the IRS National Office, the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, IRS Appeals and Examination offices throughout the country, and in the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, multiple U.S. Federal District Courts and Courts of Appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Tax lawyers also work with both administrative agencies and legislatures to ensure that new tax laws and administrative guidance fairly take into account their client’s business circumstances. Many successful tax lawyers have a strong interest in furthering good tax policy, and further that objective through work on bar association committees, publication of articles, or a term of government service.

Many of the highly regarded tax firms employ lawyers with government experience at the IRS, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Justice, the United States Tax Court, and on Capitol Hill. In fact, many of the premier tax firms are located in Washington DC.

Like other accomplished business lawyers, successful tax lawyers must thoroughly understand their clients’ businesses. In addition, successful tax lawyers must master a complex statutory scheme, translate that technical language into a form that enables a client to make effective business decisions, and devise imaginative solutions that balance the client’s various interests and circumstances, including commercial, financial, accounting, and non-tax legal considerations (e.g., securities law or bankruptcy constraints).

 
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