Property tax and estates planning experts are spending so much time working together that many of them are ignoring the most important rule in the tax code: no more than one lawyer can represent the property owner.
That’s according to a new report from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Center for Public Integrity found that in 2013, just 7% of tax law attorneys were dedicated to estate planning and only 1.6% to property tax law, with the vast majority of them focusing on tax-related matters.
The median annual income for attorneys who specialize in property tax, estate planning, and other property-related tax matters was $121,000, with an average annual salary of $175,000.
The median annual compensation for attorneys with the specialized skills was $174,000 with an annual salary that was $165,000 higher than that of non-specialists.
The vast majority (80%) of tax-law attorneys who work on tax cases are either married or married to married lawyers, according to the Center.
The vast majority are married and unmarried.
The same is true of the average salary for lawyers with the tax-oriented skills.
There are also a few notable exceptions.
Some lawyers with specialties in tax law are married to other lawyers.
In one of the most notable exceptions, the Tax Foundation’s Center for the Study of the Legal Profession reports that lawyers with a specialization in tax issues are likely to have more in common than a simple affinity for one another.
The most common way that lawyers who specialize are finding common ground is through their spouse.
In 2013, the most common reason lawyers in the Tax Law and Estate Planning specialty were married was by the spouse of a tax attorney, with more than half (54%) of the spouses with tax law careers being married to tax attorneys.
A small number of lawyers with specialty in estate planning are married, but the data suggests that the spouses are not the primary reason.
There is also a high level of diversity among the tax law specialty.
The Center for Tax and Budget Policy’s analysis of federal estate tax and tax planning cases from 2013 found that nearly half (46%) of lawyers in both tax and non-tax law specialties were married to their partners or spouses.
In contrast, fewer than one in 10 tax- and estate-planning lawyers were married.
The analysis also showed that the median salary for a married lawyer is more than twice the median income for an unmarried lawyer.
The average annual income of a married tax attorney is $179,000 and the average annual compensation of a non-married tax attorney in the same field is $130,000 more than that for a single lawyer.
There’s no doubt that marriage can be a valuable source of support for a tax lawyer.
However, it should not be the sole source of income for a lawyer.
Marriage should not provide a pathway to a tax law career.