The United States Tax Court Building, in Washington, D.C., headquarters of the United States Tax Court. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The recent news concerning the ruling on health-care legislation, handed down from the Supreme Court, has made some angry and some glad. The Congress of the United States passed a law saying that all citizens are mandated to carry health insurance and if you did not carry insurance you would be fined. The case went to the Court and they determined that the penalty was just a tax and would be allowed under the U.S. Constitution.
In life they say there are only two certainties, death and taxes, with the recent ruling government will be wanting more of your tax dollars. As long as governments want a piece of your income, tax experts will be needed for legal advice on tax implications for disputes concerning property, estates, trusts, and finances. The kind of lawyer you need for tax disputes is one with a llm in tax law.
Tax law is its own distinct and separate legal area but it is also a companion legal area. By a companion legal area I mean, knowledge of tax law is necessary if you practice other types of law like business & corporate law, estate planning, and probate law. Tax law can also be integral to other areas of law like family law, bankruptcy law, guardianship law, real estate law, and securities law. Having a knowledge of the intricacy of tax laws can be an advantage. Without this kind of knowledge, the client will be missing out on vital knowledge that could make the difference.
Tax Law is a companion to other types of law but it is also a distinct legal area all to itself. A person that needs help can seek legal counsel concerning specific tax situations. Having a knowledge of U.S. tax laws is only part of the solution. Each state also has their own specific laws and practices concerning tax law and that can be a challenge that a tax lawyer can help you with.
Tax law has become such a specialized area of the law that many law schools have offered separate legal degrees above and beyond the basic law degree. This special degree is called a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in taxation. Many law schools have started llm tax programs in response to the rise in the specialty of a law practice and its higher knowledge requirements.
Tax law is even thought by the court system to be so highly specialized that there is a specific court that only hears tax cases. The U.S. Tax Court only hears cases that concern tax law disputes. Additionally, there is the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts and the Court of Federal Claims and all have jurisdiction in hearing federal tax cases. All this is guided by a separate body of laws which is the Internal Revenue Code. Add to that Treasury Regulations, Revenue Rulings, Revenue Procedures, Technical Advice Memoranda, and Private Letter Rulings.
Having to face the overwhelming tax laws we have in this country without a knowledgeable tax lawyer would be foolish. If you have a tax question or tax problem it's best to seek out a tax lawyer.