Both certified public accountants, known as CPAs, and tax attorneys are available to individuals and organizations attempting to navigate the often confusing universe of taxes in Boca Raton. Members of both professions work on a variety of tax-related issues, and their expertise can overlap in certain areas. However, CPAs and tax attorneys also specialize in areas that are unique to their field.
Tax Strategies and Preparation
Both CPAs and tax attorneys provide tax planning support, helping individuals and organizations make financial decisions with an eye on the possible tax benefits or penalties that those moves would create in the future. In this realm, tax attorneys offer more specialization in the legal questions of tax planning, while CPAs have more expertise on the financial implications. Tax planning encompasses such areas as trusts, estate planning, investments, business and personal expenses, payroll, business structure and self-employment. Tax attorneys typically do not prepare tax returns, though they might provide legal advice on how to fill out specific aspects of a return. CPAs do prepare tax returns and can file them directly with the Internal Revenue Service.
In the event that a person or entity needs to defend itself on a tax-related issue, both tax attorneys and CPAs can prove useful. However, tax attorneys are educated to handle legal challenges and can represent clients in the court system, whether the clients are bringing a case against the IRS or the IRS is investigating them for possible tax crimes. A CPA can help to strengthen a legal case, especially if he or she helped to prepare the tax returns in question. A tax attorney provides the advantage of attorney-client privilege. A CPA only offers attorney-client privilege if acting at the direction of a lawyer to give the client information relevant to the case.
Other Areas of Interest
While a tax attorney’s focus is on tax law and the many issues related to it, the work of CPAs encompasses other areas. In fact, many CPAs do not work on taxes at all. CPAs can work on a wide range of areas in accounting, such as personal financial planning and corporate financial accounting, including the creation of financial statements and other public documents. One prominent area of work for CPAs is auditing, which entails serving as an external authority to review and validate corporate financial statements to provide confidence for investors and others who depend on the information.
Both tax attorneys and CPAs face stringent education requirements. Tax attorneys must earn a law degree and then pass the state bar association exam in the state where they plan to practice. Some choose to pursue other educational opportunities in their specialty, such as a master of laws degree in taxation or a CPA license. States maintain their own requirements for taking the CPA exam, but most of them require a minimum of 150 college credits, which is about five years of study. Some states also require a minimum amount of work experience in the field, or they will allow an applicant to use work experience as a substitute for the education requirement. Finally, someone seeking a CPA license must pass the Uniform CPA examination.
Total Tax Solutions is uniquely qualified with a experienced CPA and Enrolled Agent passionately devoted to helping clients with back taxes, unfiled returns, IRS Tax audits, wage garnishments, innocent spouse, offer in compromise, installment plans, bank levies, and a myriad of tactical IRS options to help resolve your IRS and State tax issues. Call today for a free consultation 954-946-4142.