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Tax Law Basics

Tax attorneys engage in tax planning, which is the structuring of business transactions and personal affairs (e.g., estate planning) so as to legally minimize federal, state and local taxes. In addition, tax attorneys represent taxpayers in disputes (like audits) and litigation (both criminal and civil) with the IRS or state tax authorities. Tax compliance work is generally left to accountants; they complete and file on behalf of their clients the various tax returns and other forms required by law.
These three activities – tax planning, compliance and dispute resolution – require a mastery of substantive tax law. Among the most commonly practiced forms of tax law are: individual taxation, business entity planning, corporate taxation, estate and gift tax, real estate taxation, sales and use tax, and international tax.