There are many cases in which the services of a tax lawyer are of help. In general, tax lawyers develop plans and keep records as to help clients deal with financial issues. They develop estate planning strategies, assist clients in filing estate tax returns, and give advice on the tax treatment and structure of businesses. Tax lawyers also help clients who engage in business activities abroad and need assistance with tax treatment, contracts, and other legal issues. In addition, they offer legal assistance to persons who have committed tax fraud, for example, falsely claiming credits and deductions.
Tax lawyers offer advice on business transactions and tax strategies, assist in setting up stock portfolios and setting up trusts, and examine payroll procedures. Tax lawyers try to negotiate on behalf of clients who are in trouble with the tax authorities. They also develop corporate restructuring proposals, allowing business clients to avoid penalties.
Tax lawyers have knowledge of accounting principles and finance as to assess and evaluate complex tax issues. They also possess knowledge of issues related to property, income, taxes, and tax law. Areas of specialization are financial services, international taxation, estate planning, and general business taxation, among others.
In Canada, tax lawyers specialize in tax defense, tax resolution, tax planning, and GST and Customs resolution. Tax planning involves determining the best tax strategy for a business or a person for future years. Tax lawyers assist in creating business structures and help structure the sale and purchase of businesses. They offer advice to non-residents who want to invest in Canada and to Canadians who plan to invest abroad. Tax lawyers also deal with retirement compensation arrangements and other types of executive compensation. Tax planning also involves planning for the emigration of corporations, capital, trusts, and individuals. Finally, tax lawyers also offer advice on the tax aspects of commercial law and corporate law matters.
Tax defense involves offering legal advice to clients who face criminal charges (for example, those accused of tax evasion). GST and Customs resolution is where tax lawyers deal with the tax authorities and aim to resolve disputes. Regarding dispute resolution and tax litigation, tax lawyers have experience in defending persons who face international and domestic audits, gross negligence penalties, enquiries, assessments, requirements, and requests. Tax litigators assist clients who deal with net worth assessments, director’s liability, and negotiations and appeals with the Canada Revenue Agency at the appeals and audit levels. In addition, tax lawyers handle taxpayer relief applications, voluntary disclosures, and transfer pricing audits.
Tax lawyers also handle cases of tax evasion and financial crimes, and their areas of practice include white collar crime, multinational money-laundering and tax audits, fraud, and tax evasion.
Tax lawyers specialize in other areas as well, handling tax-deferred corporate reorganizations, preparing co-ownership agreements, and offering advice on inheritances from non-residents. Tax lawyers review the legal types of business in order to determine which is best suited for a business start-up. They also review negotiations and business contracts, for example, those related to the purchase of a business, as to assess the tax effect of such deals.
While tax lawyers help clients in many ways, clients also have responsibilities when working with an attorney. They have to provide the required information as completely and quickly as possible. Clients should also assist in depositions, disclosures, and the preparation for trial. They should respond to correspondence, emails, and phone calls in a timely manner. Finally, clients should cooperate in scheduling and inform their attorney of any changes in their business situation or contact information, which may affect their work with the lawyer.