Tax Attorney & EA


G

goodshi

What is a "Tax Attorney"? Who is qualified for that? How to become a
Tax Attorney?
If a person is an EA (Enrolled Agent), does he/she qualify for Tax
Attorney?
 
Ad

Advertisements

S

Stuart Bronstein

What is a "Tax Attorney"? Who is qualified for that? How to become a
Tax Attorney?
There is no legal definition of a tax attorney. While some states may
certify some attorneys as particularly skillful with respect to tax
matters, any lawyer can call himself a tax attorney.
If a person is an EA (Enrolled Agent), does he/she qualify for Tax
Attorney?
If he's a qualified attorney at skilled at some area of tax law, I
don't see why not. Though that doesn't mean he is qualified to do
everything that some other tax attorneys are.

Stu
 
P

Paul Thomas, CPA

What is a "Tax Attorney"?

It's simply an attorney who handles, or specializes in taxation. Usually
they'll also be CPA's, maybe used to work for the IRS, or have other
specialized experience. You'll usually see the designation after their
name, "JD, CPA" or some nonsense.

You usually don't get a tax attorney for a DUI case.




Who is qualified for that?

Almost anyone with a law degree that wants to take on that work.



How to become a Tax Attorney?


Quite often the ideal path is to get your accounting degree, then apply to
law school.





If a person is an EA (Enrolled Agent), does
he/she qualify for Tax Attorney?

I could see where someone with a law degree could qualify for an EA
designation.
 
M

Mark Bole

What is a "Tax Attorney"? Who is qualified for that? How to become a
Tax Attorney?
If a person is an EA (Enrolled Agent), does he/she qualify for Tax
Attorney?
Are you asking because you are considering becoming one, or because you
need to hire one? More details might result in a better answer.

With due respect, I don't think the previous replies got this quite
right regarding the EA part of the question. It would be very uncommon
for one who is already an attorney to become an EA, since it would add
or change nothing regarding their ability to practice (represent
taxpayers) before the IRS.

An attorney can do anything an EA can do, plus more. For example, both
can represent you at an IRS audit, but AFAIK only the attorney could
represent you in Tax Court or any of the other courts that hear
tax-related cases. Or, with both you have a client confidentiality
privilege, but if your tax issue is a criminal one, only an attorney can
maintain the privilege, not an EA.

Circular 230 identifies four type of practitioners: Attorneys, Certified
Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, and Enrolled Actuaries. If you are
one of the other three, you can automatically practice before the IRS
based on your professional standing. As for the fourth category, anyone
can become an EA by passing a written examination and a basic background
check by the IRS (Form 23). Some former IRS employees, from what I
understand, can also automatically become EA's.

Given that the barrier to becoming an EA is lower than the others, I
suspect there are more of them, therefore in the marketplace you could
probably engage the services of an EA more cheaply than those of a tax
attorney for the same work. Heck, even the store-front tax prep chains
have EA's in their employ. Of course, in an audit I would always value
experience and resources much more highly than just a professional
designation.

-Mark Bole
 
A

Arthur Kamlet

With due respect, I don't think the previous replies got this quite
right regarding the EA part of the question. It would be very uncommon
for one who is already an attorney to become an EA, since it would add
or change nothing regarding their ability to practice (represent
taxpayers) before the IRS.
In practice that is right. In theory, a law license in one state may not
be transferable to practice in another state.

Given that the barrier to becoming an EA is lower than the others, I
suspect there are more of them,
The National Association of Enrolled Agents (www.naea.org) estimates
there are approximately 45,000 currently active EAs. That's far less
than the number of CPAs and far far less than the number of lawyers.


But not all CPAs practice accounting or even tax, and many lawyers
do not practice taxation or, if they do, often specialize in select
areas of tax such as estates and trusts. You would have to get a count
of how many CPAs and attorneys practice say, individual income tax
representation or preparation.


therefore in the marketplace you could
probably engage the services of an EA more cheaply than those of a tax
attorney for the same work.

I would agree that EAs would generally charge less than CPAs or attorneys,
but would not base it on sheer numbers. I believe that EAs need to do
more to get the EA profession known to the general public.

Heck, even the store-front tax prep chains have EA's in their employ.

The "big gorilla" national tax prep firm has a policy of encouraging
their tax preparers to study for the EA exam, and lets them take
internal courses at no cost if they become EAs. They do not apply
this policy to non-EA CPAs or attorneys however.
 
D

D. Stussy

Arthur Kamlet said:
In practice that is right. In theory, a law license in one state may not
be transferable to practice in another state.



The National Association of Enrolled Agents (www.naea.org) estimates
there are approximately 45,000 currently active EAs. That's far less
than the number of CPAs and far far less than the number of lawyers.

But not all CPAs practice accounting or even tax, and many lawyers
do not practice taxation or, if they do, often specialize in select
areas of tax such as estates and trusts. You would have to get a count
of how many CPAs and attorneys practice say, individual income tax
representation or preparation.
I've heard in the rumor mill (i.e. unconfirmed) that there's only about
10,000 attorneys that practice taxation of some form. There's also about
230,000 CPAs, but I don't know how many of them do/don't practice taxation.
 
Ad

Advertisements

I

inky dink

What is a "Tax Attorney"? Who is qualified for that? How to become a
Tax Attorney?
If a person is an EA (Enrolled Agent), does he/she qualify for Tax
Attorney?
In addition to what has been posted already, only an attorney is licensed to
give legal advise. Which, it seems to me, includes interpreting statutes,
regulations, and case law. How this plays out in practice is probably
different, which is why non tax attorneys (including IRS personnel), often
get things so wrong. ;)
 
H

Harlan Lunsford

inky said:
In addition to what has been posted already, only an attorney is licensed to
give legal advise. Which, it seems to me, includes interpreting statutes,
regulations, and case law. How this plays out in practice is probably
different, which is why non tax attorneys (including IRS personnel), often
get things so wrong. ;)
What you are implying in your reply is that by looking up the tax law,
whether by interpreting statues, regulations and case law, one is
therefore practicing law. This is not the case.

Even a non tax professional, i.e. the "great unwashed", can help anybody
fill out forms of a legal nature with no fear or trepidation.

If it were so, I would have been practicing law for 35 years.

Heck,I even act as an attorney sometimes for clients! And that's
allowed.

ChEAr$,
Harlan Lunsford, EA n LA
 
I

inky dink

Harlan Lunsford said:
What you are implying in your reply is that by looking up the tax law,
whether by interpreting statues, regulations and case law, one is
therefore practicing law. This is not the case.
Where does one draw the line? I have seen very bad "legal" advice given by
EAs and CPAs, that would not have been given by most tax attorneys.
Recently, an EA read a revenue ruling completely wrong. Or, rather read it,
and applied it completely wrong to the facts of her client.

This is a very murky area, made more so because the tax laws are themselves
so murky.
Even a non tax professional, i.e. the "great unwashed", can help anybody
fill out forms of a legal nature with no fear or trepidation.
true, but many EAs go beyond this and try to interpret revenue rulings, etc,
and botch it badly.
If it were so, I would have been practicing law for 35 years.

Heck,I even act as an attorney sometimes for clients! And that's
allowed.
attorney in fact and attorney at law are two different things entirely.



So I wonder - where do you folks who are not tax attorneys draw the line?
Anything goes? Yikes!
 
A

Arthur Kamlet

Where does one draw the line? I have seen very bad "legal" advice given by
EAs and CPAs, that would not have been given by most tax attorneys.
Recently, an EA read a revenue ruling completely wrong. Or, rather read it,
and applied it completely wrong to the facts of her client.

This is a very murky area, made more so because the tax laws are themselves
so murky.


true, but many EAs go beyond this and try to interpret revenue rulings, etc,
and botch it badly.


attorney in fact and attorney at law are two different things entirely.



So I wonder - where do you folks who are not tax attorneys draw the line?
Anything goes? Yikes!

As may be dictated by tax knowldge and good old common sense, I suppose.



I'm sure this could easily turn into a no-win contest, with one
side pointing out how many returns prepared by lawyers have had to
be amended due to gross errors that should never have been made.


(I'm even more down on divorce lawyers who mess up the alimony
and tax dependency allowances and interests in deferred comp vehicles
parts of the decree, but then I don't expect them to understand taxes,
although they can't properly prepare the decree if they don't:-(


But that's not the point. Revenue Rulings. e.g., have an intended
audience and I think we all know that audience clearly includes all
Circ 230 preparers as well as non-enrolled preparers.
 
Ad

Advertisements

H

Harlan Lunsford

inky said:
Where does one draw the line? I have seen very bad "legal" advice given by
EAs and CPAs, that would not have been given by most tax attorneys.
Recently, an EA read a revenue ruling completely wrong. Or, rather read it,
and applied it completely wrong to the facts of her client.

This is a very murky area, made more so because the tax laws are themselves
so murky.


true, but many EAs go beyond this and try to interpret revenue rulings, etc,
and botch it badly.


attorney in fact and attorney at law are two different things entirely.



So I wonder - where do you folks who are not tax attorneys draw the line?
Anything goes? Yikes!
Here's where we draw the line. Anyone, whether attorney, EA or CPA, who
practices tax law, has the duty to interpret the law correctly and
advise his client as to the correctness of said treatment. He also has
a duty to IRS to do the same. These strictures are laid out quite
specifically in IRS circular 230. To do anything outside of these
parameters invites disbarment before the IRS and inability to practice
before the IRS. IRS has an Office of Professional Responsibility, and
they regularly follow up on referrals and publish the results. (For
some strange reason I tend to see many more attorneys disbarred than
other ranks.)

Hope this helps your understanding.

ChEAr$,
Harlan Lunsford, EA n LA
 
D

D. Stussy

inky dink said:
In addition to what has been posted already, only an attorney is licensed to
give legal advise. Which, it seems to me, includes interpreting statutes,
regulations, and case law. How this plays out in practice is probably
different, which is why non tax attorneys (including IRS personnel), often
get things so wrong. ;)
What's "advise" (used as a noun)?
 
I

inky dink

Arthur Kamlet said:
As may be dictated by tax knowldge and good old common sense, I suppose.



I'm sure this could easily turn into a no-win contest, with one
side pointing out how many returns prepared by lawyers have had to
be amended due to gross errors that should never have been made.


(I'm even more down on divorce lawyers who mess up the alimony
and tax dependency allowances and interests in deferred comp vehicles
parts of the decree, but then I don't expect them to understand taxes,
although they can't properly prepare the decree if they don't:-(


But that's not the point. Revenue Rulings. e.g., have an intended
audience and I think we all know that audience clearly includes all
Circ 230 preparers as well as non-enrolled preparers.

ah, my research indicates (as you have been saying) that the IRS has
preempted state law on practicing law without a license insofar as federal
income tax is concerned. Well, that is that. And yes, we can all point to
examples of professionals failing their clients, and professionals who we
have to wonder how they ever got their license, whatever it might be.

My practice has always been, for any profession: if your professional
advises you of something that doesn't seem right, or doesn't work in your
favor, do your own research and see if you can prove them wrong. Often you
can. The hard part is when a professional fails to advise you of something,
and you don't sense that your own research should be conducted.

cheers.
 
Ad

Advertisements

D

D. Stussy

inky dink said:
...
ah, my research indicates (as you have been saying) that the IRS has
preempted state law on practicing law without a license insofar as federal
income tax is concerned. Well, that is that. And yes, we can all point to
examples of professionals failing their clients, and professionals who we
have to wonder how they ever got their license, whatever it might be.
ANY federal tax (in title 26 or 31), not just the income tax. Technically,
31 USC 330 authorizes practice before any bureau of the U.S. Treasury Dept.,
not just the IRS, although the Secretary may limit it. EAs often handle
payroll and estate/gift issues too, and maybe a few deal with the
manufacturing excise taxes.
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Similar Threads

Attorney====>>>EA 7
Need a tax attorney 7
tax attorney vs CPA 12
Please Recommend a Tax Attorney 12
Referral to GA tax attorney 0
Attorney Fee 2
Estate Attorneys 9
Attorney questions 16

Top