What Is Tax Law?

Tax law is the legal field that relates to the assessment, payment and nonpayment of taxes imposed by governmental authorities at the local, state and national levels. Because a tax can be tied to many types of activities, tax attorneys must understand and implement a wide variety of legal concepts.

Below is an overview of tax law career opportunities that may be available to you after completing the online Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation program from Washington University’s top 20-ranked law school. Designed for law professionals and law school graduates who want to specialize in tax law, the curriculum prepares you to apply fundamental tax law concepts to a variety of real-world scenarios.

In as few as 12 months, our faculty members, who are expert tax law practitioners, will equip you with the tools you need to solve intricate tax issues and adapt to evolving tax legislation.

What Does a Tax Attorney Do?

Tax attorneys help their clients understand tax legislation and conduct their affairs in a way that minimizes their tax liability. When disputes occur, tax attorneys help their clients assert their rights and protect their interests.

As a graduate of Washington University’s American Bar Association-approved online LL.M. in Taxation program, you will be able to:

Pursue a Career as a Tax Specialist

Use your comprehensive understanding of tax law to pursue career paths such as becoming a tax attorney or a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) attorney at law firms as well as clerkship opportunities at both the U.S. Tax Court and state tax courts.

Support Accounting Firms and Businesses

Leverage your tax expertise, which is essential for working in the Big Four accounting firms, as a legal advisor or tax consultant, and work with corporations as an in-house tax attorney or financial product advisor.

Work as a Lawyer for the Government

Work as an attorney in the tax department of governmental agencies such as the Department of Justice or the Internal Revenue Service.

Responsibilities of Tax Attorneys

Tax law careers vary, but most tax attorneys spend their time trying to ease the financial burdens of their clients or protect their interests. Below are some examples of common responsibilities of tax attorneys:

  • Structuring transactions to obtain the most advantageous tax treatment possible
  • Advising individuals on estate-planning strategies to minimize tax liability upon transfers of wealth
  • Researching tax laws and regulations
  • Designing organizational structures of businesses to ease the burdens of taxes
  • Representing clients who are under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service
  • Assisting organizers of a charity or nonprofit organizations with obtaining tax-exempt status
  • Advising international business entities with contracts, tax treatment and other legal matters

Apply to the online LL.M. in Taxation program today.

Salary and Career Outlook for Tax Attorneys

Because of the complexity of tax law and its impact across industries, the need for qualified tax attorneys is growing.

8%
job growth

8%
job growth

Between 2016 and 2026, employment opportunities for lawyers in the U.S. are projected to grow 8%.1

$150,200
average salary

$150,200
average salary

The national average salary for attorneys in the legal services industry in the U.S. is $150,200.2

Benefits of a Tax Law Career

Studying tax law can be beneficial to your work-life balance. This legal specialty provides many rewards including career stability, flexibility and development opportunities.

Career Stability: As long as there are taxes, there will be a need for tax attorneys. Tax law expertise is a service that will remain relevant year round, even in the face of economic downturns.

Career Options: Everyone is subject to tax law, so tax attorneys can find work in nearly every employment sector, from small businesses to federal and state government.

Development Opportunities: Tax attorneys can share their expertise by writing articles and presenting at professional events. Attorneys in this field can also develop in-demand expertise if they focus their practice on one or more of the many areas of tax specialty, including:

  • Audits and appeals
  • Compliance
  • Corporate tax
  • Employee benefits
  • Estate planning
  • International tax law
  • Litigation
  • State and local tax
  • Real estate or other transactional work
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Tax-exempt organizations

Get Started Now

Gain specialized tax law training to advance your career. Start your online LL.M. in Taxation application today.

Apply Now

Questions about submitting your online LL.M. in Taxation application? Connect with an Admissions Counselor at Phone Number: 314-281-5200 or email us at admissions@onlinelaw.wustl.edu.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Lawyers Return to footnote reference
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Lawyers Return to footnote reference