A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is responsible for a number of financial preparations for both individual clients and businesses, including tax returns. CPAs also act as financial advisors, helping clients with decisions that affect their investments and tax obligations.
After earning their degree in accounting or a related field, CPAs must pass an exam that certifies them to take on responsibilities beyond those of an accountant. They must also earn 120 hours of continuing education credit every three years.
CPAs are certified to file reports for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are required for companies listed on the stock market. They may also conduct audits and analyze financial records, focusing on the accounting portion of tax preparation.
CPAs are responsible for the following activities:
- Preparation of certified financial reports for business clients
- Advise clients on opportunities to maximize deductions on their taxes
- Optimize a company’s accounting practices
- Assist in estate planning or other long-term tax and financial plans
How are the functions of the public accountant and the tax attorney different?
Although both tax attorneys and CPAs work with tax-related matters, the primary functions of their jobs are very different. A tax attorney knows and understands the tax laws and follows the changing regulations to better serve clients. Most tax attorneys work for a law firm, although they may offer their services independently.
A CPA Pensacola Florida usually works independently running their own company, although some CPAs choose to work for an accounting firm or a large corporation. Unlike a tax attorney, a CPA will help a client fill out, prepare, and file a tax return with the intent of simplifying complex information from multiple sources. Their focus is on the financial rather than the legal aspects of fiscal responsibility. CPAs are also certified to do more than prepare taxes. They work with business clients to create financial reports and analyze a company’s financial accounts.
What is the difference between the education and training of a public accountant and that of a tax accountant?
Chartered accountants go to school for a four-year degree. Since each state has its own accounting governing board, specific credit hour requirements vary. Certified public accountants typically earn an accounting degree with courses focused on accounting principles, business ethics, and auditing. Some CPAs choose to pursue an advanced degree with a more specialized focus on accounting. A CPA must pass a national exam to become licensed within their state.
After obtaining a university degree, a tax accountant enters law school for two to three years of additional training. Once they obtain a legal degree with a focus on tax law, a tax accountant must also pass a state bar exam to become a legal professional with the ability to practice law in their state.
What is the salary difference between a CPA and a tax attorney?
Although employment and educational experience affect earnings, the national median salary for a CPA is $80,442 per year. (For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.) A CPA Pensacola Florida working for a large company can earn significantly more per year.
The national median salary for a lawyer is $96,043 a year. (For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.) Some of the highest paying places for lawyers are in metropolitan areas like Washington, DC, New York, and Los Angeles, California.
When should you hire a tax attorney?
You may want to hire a tax attorney to act as your legal adviser and representative when you encounter the following situations:
- Being part of a case in which a Treasury official or a tax agent is involved.
- You owe unpaid taxes (often for several years).
- He is being investigated for tax fraud.
- A Treasury official participates in the audit of your tax return.
- Your assets are at risk of being seized.
- Necessary to negotiate with an Internal Revenue Service agent.
- When should you hire a CPA?
- CPA services can be helpful in the following circumstances:
- He has a small business.
- You combine personal assets with business expenses.
- You’ve been through a divorce.
- It has several properties.
- Sell a house or have a rental property.
- You have to certify the financial reports of a company.