The government of South Africa generates its revenue from collecting taxes from individuals and businesses that earn or generate taxable income. However, the subject of tax involves many things, which makes it complex. However, the good news is that you can enlist the services of a professional to help you handle your tax issues. This guide explains everything you want to know about the role of the tax attorney, career path, and potential earnings.
What Does a Tax Attorney Do?
The major role played by a tax attorney is to advise clients about the tax implications of different payments. They also help with the interpretation of the tax laws to help taxpayers make informed decisions to avoid penalties that may be imposed by the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
If a taxpayer is subject to undergo an audit, this is when a tax lawyer comes in handy. They help the clients by drafting the necessary objections or appeals if a dispute arises. They know the law to advise their clients better regarding litigation and settlement of disputes.
Experienced attorneys also contribute to the drafting of fiscal legislation and engage the authorities when changes to tax laws are required. They also recommend amendments to certain tax laws if they do not specify the circumstances of different clients.
What do Tax Lawyers Do in South Africa?
Tax lawyers in South Africa play a crucial role in helping individuals and corporations deal with legal issues related to taxes. These professionals should have a strong background in accounting, finance, and taxation law. They help taxpayers fulfil their tax obligations, including filing tax returns and explaining complicated tax codes to help clients make the best decisions.
Corporations also enlist the services of tax attorneys as part of their legal teams to help businesses prevent costly mistakes that can be caused by inaccurate revenue reporting. Tax lawyers also provide legal representation to clients who might be facing legal proceedings emanating from their past tax payments or facing penalties. An attorney plays a crucial role in this case to provide the best advice to their clients to make the best settlement.
In the case of penalties, SARS will recover its money in one way or the other from the taxpayer involved. Therefore, the role of the attorney is to help the client choose the best settlement option. Attorneys have a deep understanding of tax laws in South Africa, and they must also have law degrees from accredited universities. A strong background in tax law is required.
Other common duties performed by tax attorneys include the following.
- Legal research- A tax attorney conducts legal research to understand policy and tax law, which can change over time. Therefore, a lawyer needs to understand the latest legal codes so they can help their clients navigate challenging issues they might encounter in their tax matters.
- Drafting documents- Tax attorneys handle large volumes of paperwork, and they spend most of their time drafting documents to use in legal proceedings. They create several documents that they should also interpret for their clients, including tax forms, employment contracts, wills, and court briefs, among others.
- Handling tax disputes- Tax disputes may arise when clients are over-taxed or penalized for various offences. In such a situation, a tax attorney will handle the case on behalf of the client and negotiate for a fair settlement.
- Represent clients in court- If a tax matter proceeds to court, an attorney will represent the client since they have the experience and knowledge about courtroom proceedings. They also advise the clients about tax-related matters. Navigating the court system can be a huge challenge without legal background. Therefore, it is wise to engage a tax lawyer to increase your chances of winning the case.
Major tax litigation in South Africa is handled by law firms comprising professionals with a strong background in tax law. Experienced lawyers can handle the tax dispute process, and they engage all parties involved equally.
How Much Does a Tax Attorney Make in South Africa?
Pursuing a career as a tax attorney in South Africa can be rewarding and lucrative. Tax attorneys can perform a wide range of tasks, and they have access to diverse job opportunities. If you want to join this field, you will be in the right direction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are growth prospects of about 10% in the legal fraternity between 2021 and 2031. This means you will never find yourself unemployed after completing your tax-related law course.
The legal profession is lucrative in South Africa since tax attorneys get different pay scales depending on their experience. For example, the average gross salary of a tax attorney in South Africa is R1,097,986 per year, which translates to about R527.88 per hour. Additionally, tax attorneys also get bonuses in the range of R77,957 per year.
Compensation in this field is based on experience. If you are a fresher from university, your entry salary will be pegged at an average of R762 720, while senior tax attorneys earn R1 381 234 per year.
Handling tax matters can be a big challenge, especially if you have no legal background in tax law. If you want to make your life easy, you need to engage a tax attorney to deal with your tax issues because they have experience and knowledge in tax law. Professional attorneys can perform several tasks related to the tax field.
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