Tax law is among the most difficult practice areas because of its overall complexity. On top of that, the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t give anyone much wiggle room to get it wrong. If you look like you’re trying to dodge taxes, then in their eyes you probably are. That’s not to say that the IRS arrests you right away. Usually, they send half a dozen letters and ask you to fix the problems before the water gets any hotter and you boil yourself alive.
And dealing with the IRS isn’t even the biggest problem for lawyers who specialize in tax law — it’s the clients who don’t comprehend that the bills are massive because they’re making a lot more money than they once did. Even the rich don’t necessarily understand tax brackets (or know that they regularly change based on local and state politicians in addition to which president is in office.
It’s those tax reforms that can be hardest to explain to new clients.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was described as the biggest piece of tax reform legislation in decades. One of the happiest changes for our self-employed clients was the reduced amount of money they received after filing in 2019. The super wealthy also got a break, while everyone else didn’t notice much difference at all.
One of the easiest methods to explain tax law is by hosting virtual question and answer sessions for new clients on a monthly basis. Many will be asking the same questions anyway, and they might feel more comfortable asking questions in a group setting.
There are also a number of resources available online, including the IRS website, which provides tax software, planning advice, and information on the aforementioned tax reform. Clients won’t necessarily understand everything we say, but speaking directly to them about the things they need to know is still the best option.