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What is the difference between a tax accountant and a tax lawyer?

Tax advisers, such as accountants and legal consultants may be trained to provide advice on tax issues. However tax lawyers are not involved practically in the preparation of tax returns, individual or company tax returns. This is the main difference between a tax accountant and a tax lawyer.

Tax accountants offer services in completing tax returns in a tax efficient way.  They provide the computations tor analysis by tax lawyers. Tax lawyers have the legal professional privilege to advise clients on liabilities regarding tax breaches or other tax legal concerns. Legal concerns may be inheritance tax issues and estate planning or company audits. A breach in tax law may involve tax fraud, evasion or tax avoidance issues.

Breaches in tax laws include tax evasions and tax avoidance. These are often criminal offences with consequences for both clients and legal professionals. A tax accountant has a legal responsibility to inform the relevant authorities when a tax error has occurred whether it is a genuine mistake or a deliberate one. They can also advise you on late penalties but you should also check the government newsfeeds for advice on late submission penalties.

Tax evasions have fallen in recent times according to the Financial Times. Government have been regularly closing loopholes in the law to reduce the temptation for tax avoidance and tax evasion.  Hopefully, this should reduce the number of criminal convictions especially if the professionals deal with concerns duly and diligently.

How is an accountant’s duty different from a tax lawyer?

A tax lawyer however has the legal professional privilege to engage in confidential communication in order to ascertain a client’s legal position and then to provide the most appropriate legal advice. This confidential information is protected from being shared with third parties.

Our legal and professional duties

Accountants and legal professionals have duty to the courts to act with integrity.  However, accountants do not have the legal professional privilege that solicitors, barristers and tax lawyers do.  It is important to hire a tax lawyer if HMRC challenges your tax computations and statement that you have submitted. The tax lawyer should then work with your accountant to understand and analyse your situation. They provide the appropriate legal advice for your situation, be it the negotiation of settlements on your behalf, or handle disputes with your accountants and HMRC.  Be sure to approach your accountants and lawyer with integrity. Contact our consultants today to further your enquiries.

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