How to Select the Right Tax Attorney for your Situation

Joe Valinho
Expert Contributor
Last Updated:

Last Updated on

How to Choose the Right Tax Attorney for your Tax Problem

If you are facing a tax issue, you can hire a tax attorney, a certified public accountant (CPA), or a tax resolution company for a resolution. These tax professionals and services assist in solving different kinds of tax problems. A CPA is suitable for problems concerning tax returns, while a tax lawyer can help you with representation, communications with the IRS, tax debt issues, litigation, and so forth. Therefore, depending on the problem at hand, you will need to hire the right tax professional for the job.

Where to Begin Looking for a Suitable Tax Attorney

To find a professional and competent tax attorney, you can ask for a referral from your return preparer, friends, and family who may know a trusted tax attorney. You can also conduct research online.

When doing research online, make sure that you cross-check the information. It is crucial to get in touch with a tax attorney who has experience resolving similar tax problems such as yours. Check and cross-check the background, qualifications, and experience of the tax attorneys you shortlist.

Qualifications of a Tax Attorney

To become a tax attorney, a person needs to complete law school graduation. Though it is not mandatory to have a background in accounting or business to join a law school, it becomes essential to have knowledge of either accounting or business due to the nature of the studies in a law school. After graduation, a future lawyer needs to pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and complete three years of law school.

How to Select the Right Tax Attorney for your Situation

Most states require you to pass a bar exam, pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), and be a part of the state’s bar association to begin practicing.

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A tax attorney will at least have a Juris Doctor (JD) degree and license to practice. Some attorneys have specialization in a specific field of taxation as well. Some are trained as a CPA too.

Depending upon your tax issue, you may choose a more experienced and qualified tax attorney or one with less experience and basic qualifications. A tax attorney’s fees will also differ according to his or her qualifications and experience.

A tax attorney who is also a CPA is the perfect choice for resolving matters related to IRS audits where you need assistance with handling tax returns. On the other hand, if you need to hire for representation before the IRS, tax debt resolution, comprehensive IRS audits, litigation, holding communication with the IRS, and so on, a qualified tax attorney can provide you the best assistance.

Things to Check Before You Hire

After choosing the tax attorney, you wish to hire, checkmark this list before hiring him or her.

  • Qualifications
  • Training
  • Years in practice
  • The type of tax cases resolved
  • Location of office/home
  • Company background in case he/she is working for a company
  • Customer reviews from different sources

Cross-check the information you have gathered. This will ensure that you have the correct information on which to base your decision.

What Kind of Tax Problems a Tax Attorney Resolves

A tax lawyer can help individual taxpayers and organizations to resolve the most complicated tax problems. Since they have the knowledge and expertise in tax laws, IRS rules, and the tax code, they can negotiate with the IRS, hold in-person and remote communications with the IRS, and represent a person or a company in a tax court.

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Some of the tax problems tax attorneys handle include:

  • Tax debt resolution
  • IRS audits
  • Appeals
  • Representation before the IRS
  • IRS notices
  • Litigation

Tax attorneys also handle estate planning, corporate tax, real estate tax, tax planning, and so forth.

Tax lawyers may work individually or work for a tax resolution company or a business organization. When choosing a company, you should carry out a background check of the company to ensure that it is a legitimate and competent service.

Benefits of Hiring a Tax Attorney

A tax attorney is a tax lawyer, which means that he or she can legally represent taxpayers before the IRS and the tax court. A tax lawyer can help you prepare taxes, legal and financial documents, work with the IRS on your behalf, represent you before an IRS agent in case of an in-person audit, respond to IRS notices, and resolve back taxes, and more.

Since tax attorneys are qualified and trained, they can resolve complicated tax matters such as tax evasion, tax avoidance, challenging the IRS in a tax court, stopping a tax lien, and complicated back taxes cases.

Having a tax attorney helps you to resolve a tax problem smoothly and quickly. Since most people are not aware of IRS rules and tax laws, they may make errors that may compound their tax problem.

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Watch Out for Frauds

There is also the danger of unscrupulous individuals and companies that spread misinformation about IRS rules. For instance, fraudulent tax resolution companies advertise IRS’ Offer in Compromise as a ‘pennies on the dollar’ program where anyone can get a substantial reduction in tax debt, even as much as zero.

These malpractices have caused many taxpayers to lose hundreds to thousands of dollars to such companies. Moreover, the misinformation they spread causes taxpayers to apply for an Offer in Compromise on their own even when they clearly cannot qualify for it. This complicates their back taxes problem.

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Some of the common malpractices that you may watch out for include:

  • Charging an exaggerated fee
  • Charging a hidden fee
  • Providing misleading information for personal gains
  • Causing a delay in resolution and providing little to no service

Whether the tax attorney you wish to hire works independently, for a corporation or a tax resolution company, check and cross-check his/her and the company’s background for consumer complaints or charges of malpractice so that you get a trustworthy tax attorney to work with.

Conclusion

Since you’ll be working with your tax lawyer closely, it’s important that he or she has a positive outlook and can be trusted with the details of your tax and financial matters.

Your tax attorney should be available for you and be willing to help you with whatever queries or help you need. Even in the most challenging tax cases, your tax attorney should be able to handle the issues confidently and not cause you to worry.

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A qualified tax lawyer will have all these qualities because they are trained for it. After choosing the right tax attorney for the job, you can be confident that your tax issue will be resolved soon.

Joe Valinho
Expert Contributor
Last Updated: