So, Should lawyers get a masters degree in tax law? I think they definitely should!! I have known and/or worked with many lawyers and most of them don’t know tax law—at least not well enough to be able to correctly tell their clients what to do or more importantly, what not to do! As a result arguments have ensued between the lawyers and the accountants. Strangely enough not all that many accountants know tax law either. If they want to be able to expand their businesses and help their clients I think it would behoove them to get a Tax LL.M (a master degree in tax law). As it stands right now if you need help with tax law you have to hire a specialized lawyer, or an accountant who specializes in law---
So, what is tax law you ask and if it is the law why don’t lawyers know it? I think it may be because they are taught other legal topics which unfortunately tend to leave out Federal Income Tax laws, State and Local laws and more importantly in this ever contracting world-- International Tax laws. Let’s face it-more and more companies are doing business with foreign entities and most of these companies need help with all the different legalities of the various countries whether they are an importer or an exporter or a combination of the two.
Estate tax planning is another area where lawyers could use a hand up with regards to IRS laws. These laws are also constantly changing and with our aging population of baby boomers there is a real need for this knowledge. Additionally, it would not hurt to learn how laws are made; what process is used to make them. The laws are changing almost daily it seems—some re-education should be the order of the day!
All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. For more information please check my Disclosure Statement.