Tax attorneys specialize in tax policies and tax liability at the federal, state, and municipal levels. They typically work at law firms or on a consultative basis. Their tax law expertise makes them essential to auditing or litigation processes with the IRS. These professionals may also draft documents for estate planning or other legal documents.
Becoming a tax attorney involves earning a bachelor’s degree, completing law school, and passing the bar exam. The process usually takes about seven years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 6% job growth between now and 2028 and shows lawyers earn an average annual salary over $120,000. Read on to learn more about the salary and career potential for tax attorneys.
HOW MUCH DO TAX ATTORNEYS MAKE?
The average salary of a tax attorney is $120,910 per year, according to the BLS. Salaries in the law field range from $58,220 to $208,000. Several factors may impact earning potential, including a candidate’s work experience, degree, location, and certification.
According to PayScale, a tax attorney’s salary starts around $80,000 per year. As attorneys gain experience and establish their skills, earning potential may exceed six figures. The table below details the average salary tax attorneys may earn as their career progresses.
|Entry Level (0-12 Months)||$80,000|
|Early Career (1-4 Years)||$87,000|
|Mid Career (5-9 Years)||$125,000|
|Experienced (10-19 Years)||$146,000|
Salary by Degree
A candidate’s degree may impact earning potential. However, earning a degree does not guarantee an individual’s salary because employers may factor in work experience or certification in their offer. This table provides insight into the average salary a candidate may receive if they possess a bachelor’s in finance versus a master’s in finance degree.
Median Salary: $73,000
Median Salary: $101,000
Entering the law field as a tax attorney is a rewarding way to gain work experience and broaden tax law knowledge. Individuals may use their skills as a tax attorney to pursue career advancement opportunities. The table below details common career paths and the average annual salary for each.
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What Are the Top States for Tax Attorney Pay?
When it comes to salary, some of the top states for tax attorneys include the District of Columbia, California, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, according to the BLS. These states offer higher than average salaries, making them attractive locations for tax attorneys. The table below details each of these state’s annual average salaries.
- DISTRICT OF COLUMBIAAnnual Mean Wage: $192,530
- CALIFORNIAAnnual Mean Wage: $171,550
- NEW YORKAnnual Mean Wage: $167,110
- MASSACHUSETTSAnnual Mean Wage: $165,610
- CONNECTICUTAnnual Mean Wage: $153,640
The BLS reports the top industries for tax attorneys as subscription programming, the oil and coal industries, motor vehicle manufacturing, and computer equipment manufacturing. These complex industries must cooperate with government rules, regulations, and tax laws, which require a tax attorney’s expertise. The table below highlights the average salary for each industry.
|INDUSTRY||ANNUAL MEAN WAGE|
|Cable and Other Subscription Programming||$234,310|
|Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil||$215,700|
|Motor Vehicle Manufacturing||$205,610|
|Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing||$204,710|
|Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing||$200,830|
ARE TAX ATTORNEYS IN DEMAND?
Historical Career Growth
Careers in this field continue to grow because most industries need legal experts to enter new markets, file documents, pay taxes, or dispute fines and other IRS issues. Professionals must meet certain educational and certification requirements, making the workforce specialized and competitive.
Future Career Growth
The BLS projects that jobs in this field will increase 6% through 2026, which is on track with other professions. Even with positive job growth, the BLS projects competition will remain high because more students graduate from law school each year than there are jobs available.
Top States for Job Growth
Long-term projections indicate positive growth for tax attorney jobs in several states. According to data from Projections Central, the top states for job growth include Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas, and Texas. The table below details each state’s projected job growth, which are all significantly higher than the average rate.
22.5% Change from 2016-2026
21.3% Change from 2016-2026
18.7% Change from 2016-2026
15.9% Change from 2016-2026
15.4% Change from 2016-2026
HOW DO TAX ATTORNEYS COMPARE TO OTHER ACCOUNTING CAREERS?
Tax attorneys are considered a type of accountant; however, their work is more specialized and typically requires additional education or experience. For instance, most accounting careers only require a bachelor’s degree. Practicing as a tax attorney requires individuals to complete an undergraduate degree, law school, and pass the LSAT.
Other differences include earning potential and job growth. The BLS reports that accountants earn an average annual salary of $70,500, with jobs projected to increase by 10%. This rate is faster than average. Tax attorneys may earn $120,910 per year, but job growth is about average at 8%. While both options offer rewarding careers, individuals should consider their goals before selecting a path.
TAKE THE FIRST STEP IN YOUR CAREER TODAY
LEARN MORE ABOUT TAX ATTORNEY SALARIES AND JOB GROWTH
- AccountingEdu.orgThis website provides an overview of accounting careers in each state. The site lists job descriptions, educational requirements, and earning potential. Site visitors can browse links to educational resources and review certification information.
- Accounting.comThis site offers tips for selecting a degree program. Users can access information about what tax attorneys do and how to become a tax attorney. The site also links visitors to additional educational resources and a job board.
- Bureau of Labor StatisticsThis site is a go-to source for information regarding average salaries, common job requirements and skills, and job growth information. Users can use the site to discover industry trends and top industries to consider working in as a tax attorney.
- PayScaleThis site offers tax attorney career information, including earning potential for all experience levels. The site links users to local job postings and includes information about potential career paths for tax attorneys.
- Learn.orgThis site provides information on training and educational requirements for tax attorneys. Visitors can browse information on job outlook and explore career-related articles and video tutorials.
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