The Difference Between Tax Professionals - Part 2Apr 13, 2022
A few weeks ago, I shared a few of the different kinds of tax professionals you might consider consulting with before moving to Portugal. Here's a few more different types.
International Tax Attorney
An International Tax Attorney is a lawyer who specializes in handling international, offshore and foreign tax-related matters, and who is especially well-versed in strategies that can legally eliminate or minimize domestic and/or foreign corporation or personal tax payments. As law school graduates and bar-certified lawyers, they can represent clients solely or as part of a legal team in court cases before the IRS.
International Tax Attorneys are often hired for advice-giving, analysis and tax planning -- especially prior to individuals or companies moving country. They are generally highly-knowledgeable of tax law in their own country, with expertise where international tax law impacts and relates to it.
It's not easy to find an International Tax Attorney who is well-versed in multiple countries' constantly changing tax laws. But many specialize in either two often-tax-integrated countries or a group of countries with a common language or similar taxation systems.
Tax Advisor or Tax Consultant (international or domestic)
A Tax Advisor or Tax Consultant is a general term for a person with advanced training and knowledge of tax law. The services of a tax advisor are usually retained in order to minimize taxation while remaining compliant with the law in complicated financial situations. Tax Advisors/Consultants can include CPAs, EAs, and some financial advisors.
They may be trained as accountants, lawyers or financial advisors, and often provide advice on strategies to minimize taxes owed while staying within laws and regulations.
Tax Preparation Firms
For foreign residents, this often means a group of licensed tax preparers and advisors who help those living abroad prepare, file, and give advice on taxes in one or multiple countries, or for certain nationalities living across multiple countries/around the world. Some have full-time tax employees while others have a few general employees and contract with relevant tax preparation experts, especially during tax season.
Some firms are located in one country while others are located "in the cloud" -- meaning everyone works remotely, often in multiple countries, without a common physical office.
Certified Financial Planner
This professional is less a tax specialist, but has deep expertise in helping manage finances such as retirement, investing, estate planning, insurance, and taxes. CFPs receive formal designation from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., requiring years of formal education, experience, standard exams and demonstration of ethics. Most importantly, they have a declared fiduciary duty to make decisions with their clients' best interests in mind.
Finding the right professional, or in the case of US citizen foreign residents, often two professionals, can be one of the most challenging aspects of moving to Portugal. Knowing who does what, and the expertise they can offer, helps you get started.
ExpaCity has six webinars by different types of tax professionals, sharing their expertise, tips, watch-out's on tax preparation and planning before your move. Check out our ExpaCity Store (see the navigation bar) where you can buy our three-webinar series Tax Essentials for US Citizens Moving to Portugal, recordings from our members-only Library. It's a great value if it's all you want to learn about for your move to Portugal.
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