Creating a tax strategy takes teamwork among legal, finance, and accounting professionals. Many companies trust an independent corporate tax lawyer as an advisor to the tax strategy team. When you are ready to add a corporate tax lawyer to your team, how do you find one? The search starts the old-fashioned way and ends with a list of interview questions.
Ask for a Referral to a Corporate Tax Lawyer
This is a case when “Googling it” is not a good first step. You will not see many listings for “corporate tax lawyer.” You probably will have better success by asking your professional network if they will refer you to a corporate tax lawyer. Inquire with your banker and accountant, and the lawyers you work with on other matters. Most of us trust recommendations from respected colleagues, which is why this is the best way to find a lawyer you will trust from day one.
If you do not get a referral from someone you know, check with the bar associations in your area; for Missouri, those include the Federal Bar Association and the Eighth Circuit Bar Association, the bar for the St. Louis area. (You can also learn about our own Taxation Law capabilities here at Swiecicki & Muskett.)
Check Their Credentials for Practicing Taxation Law
The practice of taxation law requires a minimum of a Juris Doctor degree, known as a J.D. The attorney also must be licensed by the state bar. Many corporate tax lawyers expand their expertise and earn a Master of Laws in Taxation degree, known as an L.L.M.. Some are certified public accountants and others have served in corporate finance positions.
Christopher Swiecicki, founder and managing attorney at Swiecicki & Muskett, L.L.C., practices taxation law with the insight of decades of experience in law, finance, and accounting. During his career he has:
- Earned a J.D. in 1990 and an L.L.M. in 2005, both from the Washington University School of Law, one of the top law schools in the nation.
- Taught a course in Business Acquisitions as an adjunct professor at the Washington University School of Law since 2011.
- Worked as a tax accountant at one of the Big Four accounting firms.
- Served as inside tax counsel to a Fortune 500 Company.
- Worked as inside tax counsel to a regional financial institution.
- Served as a chief financial officer and general counsel for a $40 million private company.
- Been recognized as an expert in the field by the Association of Corporate Counsel and the American Bar Association.
Today, Christopher Swiecicki provides personalized service to business owners and executives at major corporations. He keeps his client roster small enough to respond quickly to every client. When he meets with clients, he has in-depth knowledge of their needs. (To begin a conversation, you can find his contact information here.)
Ask If the Corporate Tax Lawyer Has Applicable Experience
A corporate tax lawyer might have impressive credentials but lack experience related to your situation. Ask them about it before signing a contract with them. In some cases, you may need to meet with them to explain your situation. If you learn they are not experienced in the area you need help with, ask them for a referral to another corporate tax lawyer.
Learn What the Corporate Tax Attorney Will Do for You
When hiring a corporate tax attorney, find out what they will do for you. Christopher Swiecicki has decades of experience advising companies on the federal tax-related aspects of acquisitions and dispositions, mergers and financial structures and products, and corporate governance. If you are seeking counsel in one of these areas, contact Swiecicki to discuss your situation and see if there is a good fit.
In other situations, consider asking the following questions, or variations of them, depending upon your business:
- What is your experience with a business like ours?
- How do you see our business interests intersecting with tax law?
- How will you apply your knowledge of taxation law to help us manage our business functions more effectively?
- Will you help us decide whether to set up a C-Corp or an LLC?
- What skills and resources do you have to help our company manage tax exposure and risk?
- How does your team stay current on IRS rulings and government programs affecting business taxes?
- Will you advise us on the tax ramifications of current operational and business decisions?
- Do you provide counsel related to e-commerce and cloud-based services?
- Do you have experience litigating cases before the IRS?
At Swiecicki & Muskett, we serve businesses in many industries with varied structures and sizes. We are constantly gaining new insights, thanks to the diversity of our clientele.
When you are ready to increase profits with a sophisticated tax strategy, contact us. We will serve you with the strength of our experience combined with constant attention to changes in taxation law. Contact Christopher Swiecicki at 636-778-0209 or email Chris@SwiecickiLaw.com.
When deciding the best way to structure their business, owners are often inundated with advice. And while friends , colleagues, and even accountants can mean well, they can inadvertently steer them into a choice that is problematic and expensive.