When you’re setting up a new business or your current business is experiencing some legal issues, it’s always best to look into hiring a tax solicitor to help assist and guide you through the difficult process of law and taxation matters.
Whether you’re looking to avoid future problems and need strong fundamental advice, or a troubling legal issue has made hiring one a necessity for you or your company, here’s what you’ll need to know about finding the right tax solicitor for your specific situation.
What is a Tax Solicitor?
A tax solicitor, also known as a tax lawyer, is an advocate and representative for clients and businesses that are under some kind of financial investigation. A tax lawyer may also be used to help oversee financial negotiations and corporate business restructuring or help a new business avoid legal ramifications in the future when setting up its brand.
Tax solicitors can represent private individuals, businesses of all sizes, and even the government. Their skills can be applied to other areas of finance and support beyond legal investigations such as tax advice, tax strategising, and mitigating the tax liabilities of SMEs, corporations, and individual clients alike.
Essentially, if there’s any element of tax risk involved, there’s a good chance that a tax solicitor has been involved in the process at some point.
When Might I Need a Tax Solicitor?
Due to the intricate but wide-reaching nature of taxation, and the issues that a business or individual may face in regard to it, there’s no universally accepted scenario for hiring a tax lawyer.
Below are just some of the many areas of finance in which an individual may look to a tax solicitor for advice and guidance:
- Inheritance tax
- Income tax
- Capital gains tax
- Succession planning
- Land tax
For tax matters relating to corporations, small businesses, and other enterprises, the following areas of finance may require a tax solicitor:
- Corporation tax
- Value added tax
- Business tax structures
- Legal advice for tax-related matters
- Official finance documentation
- Business insolvency matters
When it comes to larger and longer-scale criminal matters, like a tax avoidance scheme for vast sums of money, for example, a tax solicitor may even play a small role in the criminal investigations that HMRC conduct. In these instances, a tax lawyer may be present for recorded legal interviews, trials, cross-examinations and many more.
For these cases, the clients that a tax solicitor deals with or helps to investigate/advocate for will predominantly be larger corporations, companies, or individuals with huge amounts of wealth.
What Does it Cost to Hire a Good Tax Solicitor?
This ultimately depends on the length, severity and complexity of the situation you’re in. And while there are firms that offer a ‘no win no fee’ option in taxation cases, others will work on a fee payment basis as legal costs can be difficult to recoup in taxation cases.
Some firms predominantly work on HMRC tax disputes, as they tend to be higher in value, and therefore, higher in pay. Generally speaking, tax lawyers will charge on an hourly basis. But there are places that will offer alternatives, like a fixed fee that predetermines your allocated time and costs.
Always be sure that no matter what firm or individual you hire for these needs, you’re being charged for the time spent advising and guiding you on a specific case, and be wary of any hidden unexpected costs and additional fees.
What Should I Look For in a Good Tax Lawyer?
If you’re looking to enlist a tax solicitor to assist with your financial needs, then chances are that the situation in question is to do with a tax error, a debt problem, or to help avoid any legal issues for your business in the future.
Therefore, it’s vital to look for these 5 broad qualities in a firm before delving deeper into your shortlisted places.
- Clarity (simple breakdowns of information and advice)
- Consistency (the same passion for all cases they take on)
- Strong communication (regular discussions and updates)
- A good reputation (great client reviews and feedback)
- The qualifications needed to succeed (accredited and well-versed in tax law)
Tax Solicitors: Asking the Questions that Matter
You can then conduct some calls or interviews with your final shortlisted firms to decide on the best possible choice for your specific needs. Asking these 6 questions below will leave you with a much clearer picture of who you’re dealing with.
- What area of tax law do you specialise in?
A tax solicitor who has years of experience in helping a business to avoid a tax audit isn’t necessarily going to be your first choice to be your advocate in tax debt situations. It’s vital to know that your problem is being dealt with by a specialist in that field.
- How many cases like this have you handled?
This question helps you to gauge how experienced this firm or individual truly is. While newer tax solicitors could potentially be cheaper for you, you can’t really put a price on the benefits of an experienced representative.
- How does your firm keep up with the latest taxation developments?
When you need to make use of a tax solicitor, it’s important to make sure that they’re always learning and adapting to the latest advancements in the field. A firm that’s always one step ahead of the industry is one that’s more likely to handle your affairs effectively.
Discussing things like where they feel the future of taxation is headed, or how they advised others about HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) scheme will give you a deeper insight into how tuned in they are to the industry as a whole.
- How are you going to keep me up to date on everything?
The majority of circumstances that require a tax solicitor will probably be a great source of concern and anxiety for you as a client. Get clear information on when you’ll hear from them, how regular that contact will be, and who you’ll be talking about these updates with.
- How much is this all going to cost?
Get a clear understanding of how their charges work and what other additional fees will come into play. Make it clear that you want to know exactly what the process costs, and what your payment options are. Make this a priority at the beginning to avoid issues later on.
- Why did you choose to practice tax law?
This question is something of a wildcard. But if you’re the kind of person who needs to feel like there is a human being behind all of that legal jargon, one who wants what’s best for you and your business, then the answer provided can give you some deeper insight into whether the relationship would be a good fit for you.
With some careful consideration and a little research into the right firms, you’ll soon feel reassured and supported by a dedicated tax solicitors team that’s experienced enough to take care of your issues, clear enough to keep you in the loop, and credible enough to help guide you into a clearer and less troubled future.
Take the time to follow some of the above insights and instructions, and use them as a blueprint to bring yourself out of your taxation worries and into a more positive business and personal mindset.
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