Paul L. Caron

Saturday, February 9, 2019

WSJ: Trump Tax Law Spurs Job Creation . . . For Tax Lawyers And Accountants

Wall Street Journal, Trump Tax Law Spurs Job Creation . . . For Tax Lawyers and Accountants:

WSJIn 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Many of the jobs it is creating, it turns out, are in the tax industry.

The overhaul continues to generate thousands of jobs for tax professionals as companies analyze the law, restructure operations and rely on tax experts to do all the work flowing from the legislation and IRS regulations, according to lawyers and executives at tax firms. Business is unusually strong and should remain robust for years as a result of the law, they say. ...

Deloitte Tax LLP grew by 10% this fiscal year and expects another 10% bump next year. KPMG LLP says it hired twice as many experienced employees in 2018 in its U.S. tax practice as it did the year before. ...

Republicans sold the tax law to the public on the premise that the new tax system would be simpler, and that’s true for many individuals. Many companies, however, are encountering complex new provisions that create demand for sophisticated tax advice and seasoned experts who can do the work. Top law firms and accounting firms are expanding, and they’re battling for experienced tax professionals. ...

Firms are seeking accountants and lawyers, but they’re also competing for people who can do data analysis and build technical models.

“There’s no doubt that the talent wars in tax have definitely heated up,” said Will Williams, tax national managing partner at KPMG.

That’s particularly true in international taxation, executives say. Multinational companies are subject to two new minimum taxes and complex rules for calculating a one-time tax on their past foreign profits. And Congress didn’t eliminate many of the old rules, instead layering new ones atop them. ...

The top tier of international tax lawyers is working on restructuring companies to maximize their benefits and avoid the new minimum taxes as much as possible. As the Treasury Department issues regulations, companies are finishing their analyses of how they’re affected and turning toward reclassifying subsidiaries and reconsidering investment decisions. ...

Accounting firms, law firms and trade groups have been snapping up the Republican congressional staff members and Treasury Department officials who worked on the law and regulations.

Just like the previous tax overhaul in 1986, the 2017 law also creates an especially bright moment for young tax professionals, who haven’t spend their entire careers learning the old system.

“On the pieces where clients need the most help and on the most pressing issues, it’s provisions of the act that no one knew until the end of 2017,” said Jeff Paravano, chair of the tax group at Baker & Hostetler LLP, which now has 85 lawyers, up from 74 a few years ago. “So it’s a great opportunity for young lawyers to become the expert.”

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Those lawyers and accountants are all drawing down hefty fees for helping their clients avoid taxes (legal) or evade them (illegal). Let's hope it's the former, but of course we know it's often the latter.
Ah well, we all have to make a living.

Posted by: Gerald Scorse | Feb 9, 2019 12:52:59 PM

Don't know why the dip around the end of 2017, but it makes the area under the curve *not* obviously larger for 2018 than prior years.

Posted by: Anand Desai | Feb 10, 2019 11:18:34 AM