Raw numerical tax data and tax law will both have a profound effect on income tax as a subject in general. As such, tax accountants and tax lawyers are going to perform some of the same tasks. People are not always going to know whether or not they need to be hiring tax lawyers or tax accountants. Their services will sometimes overlap in Canada and elsewhere, but not all the time.
Anything that involves going to court is certainly going to require the participation of a tax attorney. Tax lawyers will be handling all of the strict legal matters. Accountants might have some of the information that they need to do this sort of work. However, they ultimately do not have the training required to go to court, and this is something that all people should remember.
Anything involving tax evasion prosecution absolutely needs to be handled by a lawyer. People who are actually facing problems on that level absolutely need to make sure that they work with a lawyer. Working with a tax accountant might be part of the process in some cases. However, this is still ultimately legal work. An accountant will not have the training required to handle proceedings on this level, and people should never expect that this will be the case for them.
This is a drastic situation. People might only need legal opinions related to taxes in some cases. All tax lawyers can certainly help in this case. Arranging for a consultation on any legal matter related to taxes is a good idea when it comes to working with tax lawyers. Ultimately, almost anything that really requires a detailed knowledge of tax law is the sort of thing that needs to be handled by tax lawyers.
Voluntary disclosure is a legal process as opposed to a process that is purely focused on taxes, which is why it is a good idea to get a tax lawyer involved. It includes both tax law and administrative law, and it needs to be handled by a legal professional who can deal with something that is this complicated.
Anyone who needs help with tax returns or help with filling out tax forms need to be able to work with an accountant. This is what accountants are trained to do, and the legal tax professionals might not have the training to be able to handle something like this specifically.
Lawyers should really not be preparing tax returns for their clients, even if it is part of a voluntary disclosure program. Accountants are the people who are trained to handle tax returns. They will be the ones that will truly give people the results that they need. Ribeyre Chang Haylock Accounting Professional, Jason Schwab, warned that relying on a lawyer for services like this is never a good idea, and it usually won’t cause people to save time or money. Legal fees are often more expensive.
CRA tax audits will typically be handled by accountants. However, they can also be handled by tax lawyers, so this illustrates a grey area. If the CRA tax audit is about the proof of documentation to support an expense that was paid or claimed, then it is a good idea for people to use the services of an accountant.
Still, when the situation involves legal tax interpretation, a tax lawyer is going to be needed once again. If the situation involves anything with civil penalties, it is once again important for a tax lawyer to step into the situation. People need to be sure that they are hiring the right professional for the right job.
— CanadaRevenueAgency (@CanRevAgency) 7 July 2017
The work of a tax lawyer and a tax accountant will vary in some cases. They might overlap in a few small situations. However, for the most part, people are going to be when they have to choose one professional or another. They should also know which professionals to choose. Accounting is complicated, and it is accountants who are trained to handle issues that specifically relate to accounting. Lawyers are the people who are trained to handle issues related to law, and that includes tax law. These are not professionals who can easily switch the work that they do, even when their specialities overlap.