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Is an Atlanta Tax Attorney the Same as an Accountant?

Is an Atlanta Tax Attorney the Same as an Accountant?

An Atlanta tax attorney is not the same as an accountant. While both professionals may have areas of expertise that seem to overlap, they each serve distinctly different purposes.

As long as you earn an income in Atlanta or run a business, you are bound by law to pay taxes. For this reason, there is a high probability that you will run into one form of tax issue or the other. Additionally, people with a number of investments have higher likelihood of facing complications with taxation. Therefore it is necessary that you understand the different professionals that handle these issues and who you need to hire in certain circumstances.

Brief Insight into ATL Business Landscape

Atlanta is both a city and a metropolitan area that consists of 28 counties. If you research Atlanta for business, you will often come across the phrase ‘Metro Atlanta’. This refers to the city center and all the counties in the metropolitan area. It was voted the number one place to do business for 10 years in a row.

This vote of confidence for business is facilitated by international crossroads and ease of doing business compared to other similar regions. This is all thanks to economically friendly policies that help opportunities become realities.

This region is home to many national and international brands such as Coca-Cola, Newel Rubbermaid, AT&T Mobility, United Parcel Service, Home Depot and Delta Airlines. The rise and success of many Fortune 100 and 500 companies and start-ups in the region make it an interesting location for an upwardly mobile workforce. From the creative industry to advanced manufacturing and supply chains and technology, there are myriads of opportunities for economic growth.

The different categories of taxes in Metro Atlanta include income, sales and use, and motor fuel taxes among others. ATL derives the right to impose some levies and taxes from the state of Georgia as recognized in the constitution and every business enterprise in the area is bound by law to comply.

Visit this site: https://www.findlaw.com/ for more details on taxation laws and policies that apply in Atlanta.

Understanding the Different Types of Tax Professionals

Tax professional

There are different types of tax professionals. These can include, Tax Attorneys, Enrolled Agents (EAs), and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). While some people confuse the functions of these professionals, they do not perform exactly the same functions.

As we said earlier, the difference between a tax attorney and an accountant or CPA may be subtle but you need to know who to hire for specific issues. Getting the right professional to work with you can determine the success or lack thereof of the settlement of taxation issues. It is therefore necessary to know the difference.

Find below the characteristics of tax lawyers and CPAs, their functions, and when to hire them:

Tax Attorney

A tax attorney is a lawyer who specializes in tax law and is certified to represent clients in matters regarding taxation. They also have the following qualifications and functions:

  1. A Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an accredited law school
  2. A Legum Magister degree, in taxation.
  3. Continuing education to keep abreast of current taxation laws
  4. License to practice law in the state of Georgia
  5. They prepare documents on tax liabilities
  6. They advise their clients on how to minimize tax liabilities
  7. Help companies weigh the pros and cons and implications of mergers and acquisitions and all types of major financial decisions such as restructuring, equity, and debt.
  8. They represent their client in the event of cases that get to tax courts
  9. Negotiate with the IRS on behalf of their clients

When to Hire a Tax Lawyer 

Having seen the qualifications and some of the functions of these professionals, when are their services needed? Find below some situations when you will need to hire these professionals:

  1. If your tax returns are under scrutiny by the IRS
  2. When you have Internal Revenue Service collection actions
  3. Whenever you have a case at the Federal District Court or the Tax Court
  4. If you are setting up a new business
  5. When you want to have lawyer-client privileges
  6. If you have received a criminal warrant for issues with your taxes

CPA

CPA

A CPA is a finance professional who handles different aspects of financial management that include bookkeeping, tax preparation, and financial analysis. They help clients whether individuals or businesses with financial reporting, strategic financial planning, tax compliance, and budgeting

The following are their qualifications and functions:

  1. Conduct forensic examination to uncover financial crimes (this function is carried out by those who specialize in Forensic Accounting)
  2. Examine financial records to create budget reports, prepare tax returns, and conduct audits for their clients. They also ensure that their client's books are compliant with government laws and regulations on all levels
  3. Manage financial information
  4. Advise their clients on financial decisions
  5. Must have a degree in accounting
  6. Must obtain certification as a CPA

When to Hire a CPA

You need to hire a CPA in the following instances:

  1. When you don’t have a finance or accounting team in your organization or business
  2. If you’re late on your taxes
  3. When you stand the risk of an audit
  4. If you are looking for an external audit or trying to broker a merger or deal that needs a solid financial statement
  5. Whenever you suspect a partner or employee of committing fraud

Conclusion 

Taxation issues can get an individual or business into trouble; therefore it is in your best interest whether as an employee, self-employed or business person to ensure that your books are up to date. Oftentimes, you cannot achieve this without professional help.

In this article, we have discussed the qualifications and roles of two of these professionals. We believe that the information we provided in this piece will help you make an informed decision when looking for whom to hire.

Bear in mind that these tips do not apply to Atlanta only but also wherever you may be in the United States. However, if you live in Atlanta ensure that you know the laws that apply to your area of endeavor or at least hire a professional who is licensed to practice in the state.

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